Playground is the eagerly-awaited second ECM album from star French drummer Manu Katché. His first ECM record, Neighbourhood, garnered many prizes and awards, and was a favorite among jazz fans.
The new recording picks up where Neighbourhood left off, and in the interim the group has coalesced into a rip-roaring and fully-integrated band. Manu's group, featuring a Polish/Norwegian confederacy of young players, is energized by his hard-driving drums, and together, the quintet - whose strong new frontline features Mathias Eick and Trygve Seim - plays exciting, zestful music.
Playground's rhythm section is - as on Neighbourhood - the powerhouse team of Manu, Marcin Wasilewski and Slawomir Kurkiewicz. Katché's four band mates represent the leading line of young European jazz artists, and on two tracks, guitar guru David Torn joins the group lending a magical touch with his unique sound.
Manu's compositions are all new, and every tune is extremely accessible - catchy melodies and toe-tapping rhythms abound! Manu Katché is one of the best-known drummers in the world today. His listening constituency extends far beyond jazz through his playing on hundreds of rock and pop records, including discs by Peter Gabriel, Sting, Joni Mitchell, Dire Straits, the Bee Gees, Tori Amos, Tracy Chapman and many, many more.
However, he has always maintained that jazz is his first love and he has been an ardent follower of music on ECM since he was 15. He first appeared on ECM with Jan Garbarek in 1990 and went on to perform on five of Garbarek's ECM albums.
Neighbourhood was Katché's first ECM leader album and was released in 2006.