Saturday, January 30, 2016

Bob Wijnen - NYC Unforeseen (2015)

NYC Unforeseen is Bob Wijnen's first project as a band leader, and what a band it is! Next to Wijnen, who lays down a really tasteful yet adventurous way of playing the piano, NYC Unforeseen features the always fantastic sounding Peter Bernstein on guitar, the "voice of reason" Dezron Douglas on bass, and the ever swinging Billy Drummond, who participated on so many great jazz records, on drums.

Wijnen was a sideman in many bands for a long time, and still is. Yet he always felt the urge to chase dreams and to show that realizing them can make you a happier and more complete person. One dream was to go to New York, the city where the jazz scene is all about what Wijnen is striving for in music: groove, swing, energy, an open mind and the spirit of the tradition of America's true original art form. With this wonderful band it all comes out.
You can order the cd in the retail store when you scroll down the page and through iTunes, Amazon and Google Music. Reviews will follow shortly!

"Bob Wijnen is a fine pianist, who has assembled a terrific band of some of New York’s top jazz players for his debut recording. NYC Unforeseen is a great CD, fresh music from a mature pianist/composer who has honed his own swinging, lyrical voice as a player and composer. Not to be missed!" - David Berkman, pianist

Bob Wijnen, piano
Peter Bernstein, guitar
Dezron Douglas, bass
Billy Drummond, drums

1. NYC Unforeseen
2. Treehouse
3. The Look of Love
4. Baby Steps
5. Sublime Indifference
6. E For Eye Opener
7. Bring it Together
8. If It's Magic
9. The Jellyfish Blues (says Dez)


Gerard Presencer - Groove Travels (2016)

Label: Edition Records

Trumpeter Gerard Presencer has a way of always giving sophisticated jazz writing a really hip, rhythmic push. His music always travels and it always grooves, so the title of this album is spot on.
It’s a pity we don’t get new releases from his pen and his trumpet/flugelhorn more often – 14 years is a long time between albums by anyone’s standards – but, hey, let’s not be moaning, let’s just celebrate this fine new release.
After many years teaching at the Royal Academy in London, Gerard is now and sharing his skills in Europe and living in Copenhagen where he is a trumpeter in the Danish Radio Big Band. Groove Travels gives us five Presencer tunes plus McCartney’s Eleanor Rigby, Shorter’s Footprints and I Can’t Stop Loving You – no, not the Ray Charles song, the Leo Sayer one!
That last named, the album’s closer, gets a terrific arrangement with the horns playing echoing patterns behind gently cascading saxophones, Presencer’s trumpet dancing over the whole thing. Ms Rigby becomes more of an Eleanora with a cruising Cuban rhythm helping the song to bowl along, while Footprints is given the kind of catchy groove, chord revoicings and section writing that gives the warhorse a new lease of life. It trots along shaking its mane with pride. Lovely solos from Hans Ulrik on tenor and Steen Hansen on trombone. And from Gerard, natch.
But what about the originals?
The opener, Another Weirdo, lopes along nicely as a fine introduction to Presencer’s rich, multi-layering of the horns with his flugelhorn the solo voice. Blues For Des ups the funkiness and there are some particularly gleaming trumpet section punches, around a stylishly powerful tenor solo from Karl-Martin Almqvist and Presencer on trumpet, with some effective accents from guest Cuban percussionist Eliel Lazo.
Ballad or Tango For The Misunderstood has a gorgeous, woozy sway about it, sinuous lines and a seductively stepping rhythm section sequeing seamlessly between tango and samba-swing. Solos are handed like a baton from Rhodes-player Henrik Gunde, to Presencer and on to Pelle Friddell on soprano. Devil’s Larder is the rock track, with Gunde on organ, guitarist Per Gade suitably forceful and the bari lines cutting through at just the right moments; it’s also a prime example of a big band piece where there is no need for individual solos.
Istanbul Coffee Cup has a touch of the exotic in the form of a snaking soprano line and a jumpy rhythm, but again the abiding enjoyment comes from the big, lush, rounded sound that Presencer’s arrangements give the band.
A lovely album that is both detailed enough to deliver new surprises over the months and years while also being easy on the ear. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait too many years and months for its successor.

1. Another Weirdo 05:40
2. Blues for Des 09:09
3. Ballad or Tango of the Misunderstood 07:10
4. The Devil's Larder 05:13
5. Eleanor Rigby 06:00
6. Istanbul Coffee Cup 05:53
7. Footprints 06:53
8. Can't Stop Loving You 06:41 

Gerard Presencer - trumpet
Per Gade- guitar
Kaspar Vadsholt- bass
Søren Frost- drums
Henrik Gunde- synths

Nicolai Schultz
Pelle Fridell
Hans Ulrik Jensen
Karl-Martin Almqvist
Anders Gaardmand

Vincent Nilsson
Steen Hansen
André Jensen
Anders Larson
Ola Nordquist

Adam Rapa
Christer Gustafsson
Thomas Kjærgaard
Jens Chr. Gotholdt
Michael Mølhede



Frank Woeste (feat. Ben Monder & Justin Brown) - Pocket Rhapsody (2016)

Il y a dans ce nouvel album du pianiste allemand la marque d'une grande diversité. Celui qui vit en France et que l'on sait élevé au biberon de la musique dite « classique » et des orgues des grands compositeurs allemands, celui que l'on jurerait élevé à l'école du rigorisme protestant et qui affiche en apparence des airs de gendre idéal s'est plongé avec délice depuis plusieurs années dans un jazz de bad boys parfois bien déjanté notamment aux côtés de Mederic Collignon (Jus de bosc).

Cet album, c'est justement le reflet d'une personnalité musicale aussi riche qu'ambivalente. Entre jazz électrique, musique de chambre et ambiant jazz, Franck Woeste navigue entre l'acoustique et le fender. Il se fait ici moins soliste que formidable arrangeur, directeur artistique et compositeur. A quand Franck Woeste pour Big band !

Des compagnons de route et stars du label passent la porte du studio et viennent en ami prêter main forte. Ibrahim Maaalouf emporte avec lui quelques beaux moments paroxystiques comme sur un "Moving Light" incandescent alors que la chanteuse Youn Sun Nah laisse planer un univers plus mystérieux et mélancolique sur "Star gazer ".

Mais si l'album est superbement arrangé on a parfois l'impression de perdre le pianiste qui dirige plus qu’il ne joue. On en est un peu frustrés. N'empêche, chacune de ses interventions est absolument précieuse et lumineuse. Où fusionnent un certain clacissime et un sens du groove terrible (Terlingua) mais toujours intelliogemment et sans esbrouffe.

Parfois il se fait très americain (on pense à Bill Frisell) sur Pocket Rhapsody avec un Ben Monder étonnant de grâce. Franck Woeste a aussi l'intelligence d'ajouter parfois quelques cordes et de venir au clavier accompagner en surimpression. Franchement classieux ! Et puis c’est tout autre chose lorsque, après une intro apaisée se déclenchent des foudres noires sur un Nouakchott sombre porte par les déchirures d’Ibrahim Maalouf et les bombardements guerriers de guitare presque hendrixiennes de Ben Monder conçu comme une vrai suite.

Aux côtés de Franck Woeste, une impressionnante rythmique avec un Justin Brown qui, depuis que nous l’avions entendu aux côtés d’Ambrose Akinmusire s’avère comme l’un des véritables petits génie de la batterie. Débordant, cet album dit beaucoup. Tout simplement luxuriant! Jean-Marc Gelin

Franck Woeste (piano, Fender Rhodes, org, bass synth)
Ben Monder (guitar)
Justin Brown (drums)

Ibrahim Maalouf (trumpet, 02 & 08)
Youn Sun Nah (vocals, 03)
Sarah Nemtanu (violin)
Gregoire Korniluk (cello)

01. Terlingua
02. Moving Light
03. The Star Gazer
04. Buzz Addict
05. Interlude
06. Pocket Rhapsody
07. Intro Nouakchott
08. Nouakchott
09. Mirage
10. Melancholia