► “Two Roses”, by Avishai Cohen
Accompanied by the Göteborg Symphony Orchestra, bassist, composer and singer Avishai Cohen plays with musical boundaries. The Israeli artist has found in the Swedish formation directed by Alexander Hanson an inspired partner for Two Roses. This album, which he considers “the project of a lifetime”, celebrates the union of jazz and the symphonic in an autobiographical score. His double bass, Elchin Shirinov’s piano and Mark Guiliana’s drums find a new musical density within a classical orchestra. Borrowing from pop, Afro-Cuban, Arab or Israeli traditions, such as Morenika Where Two Roses (Shnei Shoshanim)his melodies with a pure sound, with a loose rhythm, exude harmony.
A Naïve/Believe CD
Concert: February 17 at La Seine musicale in Boulogne-Billancourt, with the Orchester national d’Île-de-France.
► “MP85”, by Michel Portal
To well-born souls, what does the number of years weigh? After a decade of discographic silence, the clarinettist and saxophonist Michel Portal has published for his 85th birthday, in 2021, a new album, MP85, which proves that he has lost none of his enthusiasm or taste for nomadism. If the “jazzistic” universe of improvisation is common to the pieces presented here, which for the most part are from the pen of Portal himself, their respective flavor is borrowed from many musical regions, from Africa to the Balkans and the Caucasus, passing across the Atlantic.
For this trip, the prompter has surrounded himself with two long-time accomplices, pianist Bojan Zulfikarpasic and double bassist Bruno Chevillon, and two more recent recruits, German trombonist Nils Wogram and a rising star of Belgian jazz, drummer Lander Gyselinck . Note, a moving Basque songBasque Countrywith almost liturgical sounds.
A Blue Label CD/The Other Distribution
Gigs: March 12 at Les Lilas, April 14 at Créon…
► “Poetry flute”, by Émilie Calmé
Although great musicians, like Eric Dolphy, have honored it, the flute is not the instrument most practiced by jazzmen, as its softness is presumed to be poorly adapted to muscular tempos and vigorous attacks. Émilie Calmé contradicts these received ideas with great relevance. It takes up jazz themes from Bud Powell, Randy Weston or John Coltrane, but also biguine or Brazilian music.
The roundness of her playing, the woody sound she knows how to give to the instrument and which recalls that of musicians of African origin (Carlos Ward, Adele Sebastian…) give her album an immediate charm. The young musician took care of the cast of her quintet by recruiting the pianist Alain Jean-Marie and Laurent Maur, with whose harmonica the flute goes surprisingly well.
A CD Continuo Jazz/UVM Distribution
► “Dracula”, by the National Jazz Orchestra
The children shiver at the echoes of the voice of Estelle Meyer in Dracula seeking redemption in a version reinvented by a collective of authors and the National Jazz Orchestra (ONJ). “To play Dracula is to feel immortal, powerful, fiery. It’s like being in a cartoon, a Tex Avery. I loved ! », smiled Estelle Meyer. With absolute earthiness, rolling the “r” like Jules Berry interpreting the devil, the actress details the menu that the Count of the Carpathians offers to Mina. “Red beets on bleeding heart beef with crushed strawberries, will that suit you? Red wine, or tomato juice perhaps? » Between fear and laughter, great art, to be discovered on stage.
Record book, ONJ Records/L’Autre Distribution, illustrations by Adèle Maury
Gigs: April 1 in Stains, April 12 in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, May 26 at La Criée in Marseille…
► “Waking World”, by Youn Sun Nah
Twenty years after her first album, vocalist Youn Sun Nah, Korean by birth and French by adoption, has become a composer of intimate and sophisticated songs. His new album, wakingworld, installs a cottony atmosphere more pop than jazz in a delicious harmony. Carried by a dreamy voice on intimate tempos, breathing calm, his songs encourage meditation as much as they open the horizon.
A Warner Music CD (review in The Weekly La Croix from February 19-20, 2022)
Gigs: March 15 in Tourcoing, March 18 in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, March 23 in Davézieux, March 25 in Montélimar, March 29 in Soissons, March 31 in La Seine musicale in Boulogne-Billancourt…