Benjamin Moussay, Promontoire

Last we heard from Benjamin Moussay was on Louis Sclavis masterpiece Characters on a Wall. He seizes the day on this very beautiful album. Born in 1973 he studied classical piano at the Strasbourg Conservatoire and later jazz, composition and …

Published: 30 May 2020. Updated: 39 days.

Last we heard from Benjamin Moussay was on Louis Sclavis masterpiece Characters on a Wall. He seizes the day on this very beautiful album. Born in 1973 he studied classical piano at the Strasbourg Conservatoire and later jazz, composition and musical arrangement at the Paris Conservatoire. His sideman work includes appearances with Louis Sclavis, Archie Shepp and others. Moussay has also accompanied one of the biggest global jazz singer stars, Youn Sun Nah. This new solo piano album has a real candour to it, the melodies sparkle and yet there is depth beyond the attractive themes. The performances floats in its own space, captioning this in one style or another makes little sense, how 'jazz' or not it is really depends on how strict a definition you set yourself. Personally I don't really see Promontoire as an obvious jazz album although there are definite flavours that circulate ('Théa' at the end is perhaps closest). The best tracks for me are opener '127', 'Villefranque' and in the reward-laden tentativeness of 'Sotto Voce' but this is an album that holds the attention throughout. Out now on ECM.

Tags: 2020 best so far tracks / albumsAlbum reviews

John Scofield, Bill Stewart, Steve Swallow, Swallow Tales

There is a stately character to Swallow Tales, an album that delights from a number of points of view. Above all it is the unique atmosphere of small group interplay, sinuous lines criss crossing and a quietly determined lopingly swinging quality …

Published: 30 May 2020. Updated: 39 days.

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There is a stately character to Swallow Tales, an album that delights from a number of points of view. Above all it is the unique atmosphere of small group interplay, sinuous lines criss crossing and a quietly determined lopingly swinging quality that draws you in and never lets you go. I'll guarantee that once on you'll be reluctant to switch this album off. Guitar great John Scofield is in full flow on this generous trawl through the considerable Steve Swallow-themed body of work. Recorded in New York just over a year ago, Scofield on Swallow Tales has the legendary bass guitarist and composer himself with him and drummer Bill Stewart for the session. 'Hullo Bolinas' in 3/4 time, has an engagingly laidback feel, drummer Bill Stewart shuffling along while Sco delivers a very pretty treatment of the opening theme. The composition goes back decades to for instance a Gary Burton solo vibes version that appeared on the 1972 released album Alone at Last. The album among other numbers also includes the trio's take on Swallow's 'Falling Grace,' 'Portsmouth Figurations,' 'Eiderdown,' 'Away,' (a piece Scofield recorded on his beautifully pastoral 1996 album Quiet) and 'In F'. A lovely album that I am sure will end up high among many listeners' albums of the year. Released by ECM.