Gary Peacock bass
Jan Garbarek tenor and soprano saxophones
Palle Mikkelborg trumpet, fluegelhorn
Peter Erskine drums, drum computer
Recorded March 1987 at Rainbow Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Despite the fact that bassist Gary Peacock has emoted some of the liveliest passages in his long stint with the Keith Jarrett trio, as frontman he has always shown us the merciful heart that moves him. Listen to the eponymous opener of Guamba, and you hear not the rhythmist but a parent tendering a lullaby for his sleeping child. Only after this Escherian staircase in sound is Peacock joined by his session mates—Jan Garbarek on tenor and soprano saxophone, Palle Mikkelborg on trumpet and fluegelhorn, and Peter Erskine on drums—for “Requiem,” which lulls us into a low-slung saddle of bass and drums before Garbarek’s razor-sharp agitations sober us. Yet Garbarek also shows great sensitivity on this date, bowing out for the beguiling trio of “Celina” and crackling with Mikkelborg over a smooth grounding in “Thyme Time.” In this upbeat number, Erskine takes the lead amid a brocade of drum computer accents. Peacock takes us aside again at the start of “Lila.” His steps are watered by droplets of cymbal, every strum a burgeoning shoot spreading Garbarekian flowers, and nourished by Mikkelborg’s sunshine. Erskine delights yet again with his delicate precision, and with the variegated rhythms that lure us into “Introending.” Peacock dances here amid a string of horns, making for a fantastic ride on par with the subtle grooves of Manu Katché. We end in a bed of “Gardenia,” another solo around which our leader’s band mates slide with utmost care. Garbarek has hardly been gentler, giving Mikkelborg more than enough canvas across which to bleed watercolor into the final exhalation.