Prayer For Peace is the latest LP from Melbroune-hailing nu-jazz maestro Ziggy Zeitgeist and his band, Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange. This is Ziggy’s first full-length project with his current lineup based in Berlin since having moved there in the summer of 2019, and the first to be released on newly-founded label, Get Together Collective. Recorded over a 3-day period in the revered Jazzanova studios in Berlin, and with engineering and mixing handled by master producer Axel Reinemer, this album serves up an ecstatic 8-track showcase of the band’s freewheeling, live-jam oriented approach to jazz-fusion-inspired groove-making.
Clocking in at track six on the album, “Tightrope” balances many of the various elements that make Ziggy and co.’s music so electrifying. The opening half of the track, which features a mix of steady percussion, warbly bass, funky keys, congas and bongos, feels in line with much of the tradition of jazz-fusion pioneers of the past. But what easily could have become mere pastiche soon escalates into something entirely unique and entrancing. The beat steadily grows more erratic and unfettered once it passes the halfway point, with the tempo and build-up hinting at a techno-like drop. The band never quite lets the track devolve into a state of pure sonic catharsis, however, as they wrangle it back into the jazz-fusion rhythm they so expertly established in the opening half, while still allowing it to develop and evolve in organic ways until petering out at the end.
Ziggy and his cohort liberally take elements from various genres and styles to pay homage to them, while effortlessly staging jaw-dropping feats of experimentation and improvisation. A tough balancing act, indeed, but one that they pull off with panache.