Absolute Zero - Ballad For
Zero are Angelo Angelos (piano, electric piano, vocals), Mervin
Naidoo (bass), Stephen Berliner (guitar, flute, backing vocals) and
Phillip Meintjes (drums, backing vocals). It's a contemporary jazz
band based in Johannesburg, South Africa. "Ballad For
Africa" is their second album after their debut "Spirit"
(2000). First starting playing covers the band decided to play their
own music. Mervin Naidoo said: "Learning other people's music
wasn't me. That wasn't what I was about."
Asked after the band's name Mervin
comments: "This name stems from physics. It describes the lowest
temperature at which matter can exist. It means everything is perfect
and everything is zero disorder." The group Absolute Zero has
developed their own style: "Our music isn't smooth jazz, but
there are smooth jazz elements in it. It's multi-dimensional and has
more than one rhythmic pattern," explained Mervin. Angelo
interjects: "The reason some people describe it as smooth jazz is
perhaps because it's laid back. I always like to say we write songs or
compositions, not styles or feels. We donít write a Latin kind of a
feel, or a groove feel or a funk feel. Our songs donít have just one
feel or one phrase the whole way through; there are two or three
different sections in each song. Our music says a heck of a lot more
than what some smooth jazz does!"
Bounce starts with Mervin's bass then
Angelo's piano, Stephen Berliner's guitar and Chris Luke's sax are
jumping in to a slow funky piece. All three are jammin' in broad
solos. This tune is something for friends of contemporary jazz with an
affinity for improvisation.
Salsa is the magical spirit
captured in Cigars. Angelo showcases his
quality on piano in a Latin staccato. Absolute perfect Phillip
Meintjes on drums and Chris Luke's sax has a furious blow. Don't
forget the master of percussion Mabaleng Moholo and Mervin's bass
is home for Angelo's electric piano and Stephen Berliner's
guitar. Not the melody but the solo is standing in the center of this
More in the way of smooth jazz is Paradise
Lost with a hooking melody. Stephen elicits mild sounds from
his guitar and Angelo's piano play is soft and flowery.
Right back to Keller
Bar Sessions. The name says it all.
Rhythm emphatic is
Sidlala No Hlazo.
Much Latin drums and percussion are a strong foundation for Chris
Luke's extensive sax solo.
calms down to a nice flute and piano interpreted melody.
is the first vocal piece featuring Angelo's silky voice. A song about
the desperate search after the freedom
encouraging to actions.
is dedicated to Chris Luke, the sax player. It's a cjazz tune with
remarkable free jazz elements.
A dreamy epic tune like Space
with an atmospheric touch and a string arrangement by Susan Webster
(cello) and Heidi Bouwer (violin) is so individually and unique, that
you will seldom find it on contemporary albums which are published by
labels. Stephen Berliner's guitar is the leading instrument on this
Song For Peter
has a strong Rock character with Stephen's impressive use of
More time for self-contemplation
mediates the sustained piece Ballad
featuring Stephen Berliner on flute and Chris Luke on sax.
Absolute Zero's CD
"Ballad For Africa" is an album for individualists. I hope
they find a lot out there.