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Djabe Steve Hackett Live In Györ

Djabe & Steve Hackett - Live in Györ

The Journey continues Tour - 21. August 2022


As almost every year, Steve was on the road again with Djabe last summer and part of some live concerts of this band. The 2022 tour - The Journey Continues - had the same title as already in 2019, which of course refers to the album Life Is A Journey that the gentlemen recorded in Sardinia a few years ago. The gig took place in August 2022 in Györ, a city in the north of Hungary, and it was the last stop of this tour. It was also recorded on video. The album comes with 2 audio CDs and a video Blu-ray disc. I only had access to the audio tracks, which are reviewed below.

Djabe are a Hungarian jazz band that mixes its music with elements of Hungarian and world music. Steve has been regularly on the road with these musicians for 20 years and he also describes them as the best band he has ever played with, which is saying a lot.

If you don't know Djabe and want to know more about the band, take a look at the reviews of the albums Live is a Journey - The Sardinia Tapes and Back to Sardinia.

For the most part, the setlist includes music from these very albums, which represent a collaboration between Steve and the Hungarian jazz band, supplemented with Djabe's own tracks, as well as various pieces from Steve's solo career, but also a small selection from his time with Genesis.

There were two new line-ups compared to the albums reviewed. On the keyboards there is now a new member: Ábel Márton Nagy and behind the drums is Gábor Oláh. Both fit seamlessly into the band. Although Gábor Oláh plays very well, his predecessors impressed me a touch more, but that's really complaining on a high level.

Listening to Djabe live is a pleasure. Here, experienced and virtuoso musicians play together and the joy of playing is audible. So I hope that the gentlemen - with or without Steve - will venture further west one day, where I can listen to them. Album Djabe Steve Hackett Live In Gyär

What can we expect on this album? Djabe is a band that is prolific and constantly churning out live recordings on albums. If you go to the band's website, you will find a large selection of releases on CD, vinyl and even tape.

CD 1

Searching For The Stag opens the concert as a short musical appetiser that builds up the right atmosphere and flows smoothly into the following Power Of Wings. This is a showpiece of the album The Magic Stag, very atmospheric and carried by an oriental-like basic melody. Here Steve can stand out with a long solo. The following Hackett live classic The Steppes starts unusually. The sounds of Áron Koós-Hutá's trumpet immediately remind me of Peter's soundtrack to Passion. The track itself sounds darker than the original and builds up more slowly. The trumpet resembles Rob Townsend's saxophone at Steve's live performances, but fits better in my eyes.

With Buzzy Island, my favourite of the Life Is A Journey studio album, now comes a piece carried by the rhythm section, in which bass and drummer create a wonderful basis over which trumpet and later Steve's guitar lay their solos. Barabás' bass solo is also not to be missed and he receives spontaneous scene applause in his home town. Lake By The Sea, on the other hand, is quieter and one of my favourites from the second Sardinia album. The acoustic-sounding beginning would fit on any solo album by Steve.

Hackett's Ace Of Wands, contains some interesting variations of the original. But as with Steve Solo performances, I don't really like the use of wind instruments here. Whether saxophone or trumpet - I prefer the keyboard. Towards the end, it becomes more and more jazzy, which I quite like. With Castelsardo At Night it gets softer again: chilling ambient jazz from the first Sardinia album, but more playful and more freely performed than on the original. I imagine how well this would fit live in the theatre of Taormina on a balmy summer evening. In That Quiet Earth closes the first CD. After an improvised sounding intro by Steve, the song returns to the familiar melodies of the original. Again, the track is arranged with a clear pinch of jazz and gets the typical Djabe touch with trumpet and the bass runs of Barnabás.

CD 2

Witchi Tai To, a composition by the Indian saxophonist Jim Pepper, which Djabe already played in their early days, opens the second CD. It is one of the few sung pieces and seems more restrained and simple, like the rest of the concert evening. Last Train To Istanbul by Steve seems like a foreign body in the set and is a skip candidate for me, even though the instrumental passages are clearly better than on the original. The following percussion intermezzo (Györ) also doesn't work here on the audio CD - on the contrary to a live performance, the special magic builds up only with difficulty.

With Golden Sands we return to Sardinia, the familiar relaxing atmosphere of the album builds up immediately and also the change to a version of Hairless Heart worth hearing fits, followed by a variant of Firth Of Fifth shortened to Steve's solo, who is accompanied here by a concisely playing Barabás.

For the friends of the bass, the funky Around The Circle now follows, which of course comes from the pen of Djabe's bassist, and he sets off a nice little firework here, which he continues right at the beginning of the following Distant Dance, before the band steps in and performs this jazz and blues influenced track, which seems a bit improvised and disjointed.

Los Endos and Györ Blues form the end of the actual concert. The style of the Genesis classic reminds me of Steve's first Genesis Revisited phase, i.e. coarser and punchier in comparison to the original, played in a very disjointed way at the beginning, but the second half reconciles again. The following short blues forms the end of the concert.
The following three pieces are the bonus encore and come from different places. Clouds Dance is a typical Djabe piece in ambient jazz style with alternating instrumental passages and is for me the highlight of the second CD with very balanced interplay from the whole band. This is followed by a second version of Castelsardo At Night, recorded in Debrecen, and the blues piece from the performance in Olomouc, Czech Republic, closes the CD..

Djabe & Steve Hackett live

All in all:

While the first CD is easy to listen to, the second part is a wild mixture. On the one hand, there are the soft ambient jazz sounds familiar from the Sardinia tapes, and on the other, blues and jazz tracks that are bulkier and sound like jam sessions. In between are the classics from Hackett's solo and Genesis time and a percussion jam. This balancing act is simply impossible to pull off in my eyes. As individual pieces they can shine, but for me the coherence from one piece to the next is missing here.

Those who already have Steve and Djabe's last live album will have to consider getting this one as well. That's because it contains seven tracks that were already part of the 2019 tour recording, which had a similar setlist. In addition, there are Steve's showpieces, such as Firth Of Fifth, Hairless Hearts, Los Endos, among others, which can be found in many variations on many of Steve's live and studio albums.

But there are also tracks that were recorded and released live with Steve and Djabe for the first time, such as Lake By The Sea and the unique Blues compositions. Ace Of Wands was already part of the live album Summer Storms & Rocking Rivers. Here, everyone has to decide for themselves if they want to add these CDs to their collection.

The album, which will be released on 28 April, contains 2 audio CDs and a video Blu-ray disc. The Blu-ray contains a variety of extras. Documentaries shot at the stops on the tour, the film footage and the songs from the performances in Budapest, Vienna, Olomouc and Debrecen. As usual, Tamás Barabás has created a lush surround mix. The Blu-ray offers a choice of 24bit/96kHz Dolby TrueHD and 24/96 wav 5.1. Of course, a high-resolution 24/96 stereo soundtrack can also be selected.


Author: Zoltán Kelemen


Live In Györ will be released on 28 April 2023 at CherryRed as a 2CD/Blu-ray package and can be ordered here.


CD1

Searching For The Stag
Power Of Wings
The Steppes
Buzzy Island
Lake By The Sea
Ace Of Wands
Castelsardo At Night
In That Quiet Earth


CD2

Witchi Tai To
Last Train To Istanbul
Györ
Golden Sand
Hairless Heart
Firth Of Fifth
Around The Circle
Distant Dance
Los Endos
Györ Blues

Bonus tracks

Clouds Dance - live in Vienna, 17 August
Castelsardo At Night - live in Debrecen, 19 August
Olomouc Blues - live in Olomouc, 20 August


Musicians:

Steve Hackett - guitar, vocal, harmonica
Tamás Barabás - bass guitar, vocal
Attila Égerházi - guitar, percussion, vocal
Ábel Márton Nagy - keyboards
Áron Koós-Hutás - trumpet, flugelhorn
Gábor Oláh - drums



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