Soné Ka La 2 / Odyssey

available October 2nd, 2020

Odyssey is first and foremost a tribute to the Africans who crossed the Atlantic tied in chains, and found the strength to create arts and music that have reshaped and elevated the modern world.

The original Sone Ka-La came out in 2005. The band toured nearly thirty countries, and inspired many young musicians from Europe, the Caribbeans, the US and even Japan. After creating Sone Ka-la, like Ulysses, Jacques Schwarz-Bart left his island to explore different worlds and realities. Hence the subtitle: Odyssey. Fifteen years later, he is back to his Ithaca, his musical landscape of Guadeloupe, with a new vision of the original concept. Sone Ka La 2 Odyssey‘s main innovation is to fuse the singing and the saxophone into one voice, carrying the melodies, might they be tumultuous, angular, mysterious or serene. It is the first jazz project with such trademark. Secondly, instead of two Gwoka Drums, one of the Gwoka masters plays the drums, transferring the traditional language to a modern instrument. Finally, there are more contemporary sounds throughout, from the keyboards, the frequent presence of electric bass, and generous use of effect pedals on the saxophone. With the rich experience from his Odyssey, JSB plants his feet firmly into the musical ground he forged years ago, to propulse his creative mind further than ever before. 

Soné Ka La 2 / Odyssey has been made possible through Jazz & New Music, a program of FACE Foundation and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States with support from the Florence Gould Foundation, the French Ministry of Culture, Institut français, SACEM (Société des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique) and Bureau Export.


My husband, my André,

I have to talk to you about Jacques’ latest work after listening to it. I have to tell you that our son carries his name well, Jacques or Jacob: he who fought the angel and won! Our son’s angel is the saxophone. What a battle to make the metal speak, scream into litanies that kill and then resuscitate you, stroke and fortifie you,  like the  incomprehensible chant of a Shaman in the middle of the amazonian forest, standing as tall and straight as the giant trees around him. Sumptuous duo, insolite, perilous and breath taking: the metal is grateful for the ecstatic generosity of the human voice, the voice is thankful for the powerful and delicate vibrato of the metal… Marvel of souls liberated.

Dialogue written of  invisible ink with each musician in the group, luminous stars that Jacques conjures, as they respond in their  language organic, essential and indefinable, like a ray of moonlight in the middle of the night. What a choir!

I know you will hear their shamanic prayer wherever you are, on the wings of the wind. Where are you? I am talking to you. 

Simone Schwarz-Bart, February 2020


Label: enja
Recorded January 2020 at Midilive Studio (Paris) by Maikol Seminatore
Mixed and Mastered January 2020 at Bass Hit Studio (NY) by David Darlington


1- Pa Gadé – 06:42
2- Mendé 22 – 5:51
3- Konk A Lambi – 4:58
4+ Ron Jack – 6:19
5- Love Will Win – 6:49
6- Zero Gravity – 4:47
7- Ami Bongo – 5:00
8- First Light – 7:12
9- New Madjanbel – 5:32
10- Tandé – 2:19

Line up

Malika Tirolien – voice / Jacques Schwarz-Bart – saxophones / Grégory Privat – piano / Reggie Washington – bass / Arnaud Dolmen – drums / Sonny Troupé – ka drum

All About Jazz - Dan McClenaghan - May 2021
"[...] life affirming joy and a vivacious ebullience of spirit. [...] The music is colorful, danceable, aspirational, off-the-beaten-path and as beautifully exotic as sound can be. "

Jazz'n More - Phil Stöckli - Jan. 2021
"Schwarz-Bart's virtuoso saxophone style reflects his great respect for the jazz and soul/funk tradition and especially for Coltrane. His tone has the same urgency and warmth as that of his idol. [...] Another very musical album from the saxophone colossus from the Caribbean. "

Les Dernières Nouvelles du Jazz - Xavier Prévost - nov. 2020
"Music of crazy energy, diabolical precision, and yet confounding freedom. Surrounded by goldsmiths from both shores (the Caribbean and the American), it propels towards our bewildered ears waves of life and chiseled beauty. "


Odyssey @ Marie-Galante Terre de Blues 2019

Pictures by © Dominique Rimbault