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Album review: 'Three'





Don’t bother looking up the meaning of the word Gilfema. It’s a combination of syllables culled from the names of the jazz trio’s members: “Gil” for Gilles, the middle name of Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke; “fe” for Hungarian drummer Ferenc Nemeth, and “ma” for Swedish-Italian bassist Massimo Biolcati. That neologism is particularly appropriate because on “Three,” the group’s first album since 2008, the musicians play flawlessly as a unit. Start to finish, the CD is world-jazz music at its best.

Recorded spontaneously in one 12-hour session, the best of the resulting music was “cut and pasted” into the album’s 13 tracks. The only cover is a take on Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing,” with gorgeous harmonics by Loueke and inflected with Afican rhythms. My favorite track is “Têkê,” a Loueke original featuring a wonderfully stuttering guitar riff, cruising over Biolcati’s undulating bass lines and Nemeth’s complex grooves. If the great instrumentals are not enough, check out the gorgeous vocal harmonies on Loueke’s “Lé.”