Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Eurojazzclub night focus for 25 May-2 June

Goran Kajfeš Tropiques Fasching, Stockholm Saturday 25 May Emile and the Movers L'archiduc, Brussels Sunday 26 May 5pm free Cyrille Aimée Bimhuis, Amsterdam Sun 26 May The US based French singer of Dominican descent Cyrille Aimée's most …

Published: 23 May 2024. Updated: 30 days.

The US based French singer of Dominican descent Cyrille Aimée's most personal album to date is recent release À Fleur de Peau given that the songs are largely originals. The ratio of killer to filler lands just about in the favour of the former. Larry Goldings collaborator Jake Sherman worked closely with the singer on the production side. ''À Fleur de Peau'' - an idiomatic French expression that can mean something like being very sensitive, on edge - created between 2018 and last year was recorded chez Sherman. Aimée's emphasis is on positivity particularly on the smiles everywhere New Orleans paean found on 'Beautiful Way'. The piercing 'Here' is harder to like although probably even easier to admire. But who couldn't love the pacey cover of the Isley Brothers' The Heat Is On (1975) song ‘For the Love of You’ covered down the years by Whitney Houston, Joss Stone and George Michael. 'Again Again' we wrote about back at the end of last year when À Fleur de Peau was first teased. Listening to it again today that song's appeal remains vivid. SG

The Czech band take their name from a Lee Ritenour piece that lent its name to the smooth jazz guru's classic 1977 album for Epic of the same name.

What a trio for a Monday night in Berlin, mercy - brother of popular UK scene drummer Gene Calderazzo (Partisans, Julian Siegel Quartet) famed Branford Marsalis and former Michael Brecker piano icon Joey with the great bassist John Patitucci (Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter Quartet) and fusion monster & jazz rock heavyweight supremo Dave Weckl allegedly a little less brutal at the kit these days - in the idiom only Dennis Chambers and Vinnie ''the Vinman'' Colaiuta come anyway close to what Weckl can so formidably and, let's face it so often simply miraculously, do. The Buddy Rich of our times? Ponder, amigo, on this rewardingly when next down the Dog and Duck if a few jazzers who know their onions on this descend.

Influenced by the great Kenny Garrett - read a recent interview with the great Detroiter doing tasty mightily ramped up drum 'n' bass these days with New Jersey homie the mysterious Russian from Vladivostok, Svoy - in relatively few years it is no exaggeration to say that alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins has become one of the most in-demand internationally and on record alto saxophonist of his generation. His wonderful album Omega was marlbank's US jazz album of the year and best jazz album of the year from anywhere led by a saxophonist in 2020: Omega highlights omg included the bass grounded track 'The Dreamer' where there is a real subtlety in the group interplay. Wilkins has a delicately sinuous, expressive tone, a little reminiscent of Greg Osby's, and the record overall owes something in common with the approach of trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire. Wilkins is in Warsaw with pianist Micah Thomas, bassist Rick Rosato and drummer Kweku Sumbry.

GIG OF THE WEEK

The more contemporary side of the French saxophonist Emile Parisien is on latest album Let Them Cook.

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His quartet together for some two decades is Parisien on soprano and effects with pianist Julien Touéry, double bassist Ivan Gélugne and drummer Julien Loutelier who also contributes some triggered electronics. There is great humanity in Parisien's sound particularly in his soloing on 'Nano Fromage,' a morse code like insistent repeated riff from Gélugne enhancing a labyrinth in all tendresse.

Kept fairly concise (in jazz terms), the longest tune clocks in at just under 6-and-a-half minutes. There's plenty of blowing and that's good given that 41-year-old Parisien is a formidable soloist. Mysterious electronics on 'Ve 1999' are OK but perhaps a bit old hat to some. That is a problem with using electronics as the technology changes so quickly and it is easy to sound dated even when this isn't. Fine drummer Loutelier on 'Pistache Cowboy' (amusing title) reminds us of the touch of Marc Michel a bit. The two-part 'Wine Time' suite begins with walking bass from Gélugne and some very tasty responses from Parisien who harmonises well with Touéry.

Métanuits is an EP favourite of ours from the saxist's work on the Siggi Loch founded label issuing this latest recording, ACT. But the French jazzer's best work that we know of was live album Sfumato, a 2018 release - recorded in Marciac a three-hour drive from Cahors in the Lot département where Parisien hails from. Playing Sidney Bechet’s ‘Temptation Rag’ on that record was a for the ages moment and makes us join the dots with the way Bechet has inspired generations of top musicians in France and even as far west as over the sea to Ireland.

As the poet put it. From 'See Me Through, Part II (Just a Closer Walk with Thee)' - Hymns to the Silence (Van Morrison 1991, 1 min 48 sec mark):

Sidney Bechet, Sunday afternoons in winter

And the tuning in of stations in Europe on the wireless

Before, yes before this was the way it was

Bechet is the father of the soprano saxophone. And so it it is more than applicable to think of his sound when someone as good as Parisien plays. The way Bechet inspired not just tradsters like Chris Barber and Van Morrison even when the context is wildly different - in Van's case above, highly gospelised and poetic. But also such iconoclasm jumped the snark to span across the arts to some of the great poets - Philip Larkin springs to mind particularly.

That note you hold, narrowing and rising, shakes

Like New Orleans reflected on the water,

And in all ears appropriate falsehood wakes

From 'For Sidney Bechet' - The Whitsun Weddings (Faber, 1964)
In Parisien's case on that fantastic version of 'Temptation Rag' (hear the French crowd go completely potty spontaneously in the live recording) with Wynton - New Orleans, Bechet and Wynton's home town, and early jazz is a blink away.

Inside Colours Live (Jazzwerkstatt) released earlier this year is spread over two CDs. Avant flavoured duo and trio settings, the work firstly of Germany based English pianist Julie Sassoon of the early 21st century trio Azilut with her partner German reedist Lothar Ohlmeier and secondly the pairing joined by their now 19-year-old daughter, drummer Mia Ohlmeier. Part of the release is a Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Radio) recording issued by Berlin label Jazzwerkstatt. The main talking point is that the second CD recorded in the Chamber Music Hall of the Berlin Philharmonie includes the presence of Mia who clearly is already a sensational jazz musician improviser - hear her best on the trio version of 'Land of Shadows'. The drummer's playing seems to us to be as intuitive as freedom inclined players such as the great drummer-percussionist Paul Clarvis, heard most recently on Rob Cope's Gemini. 'Land of Shadows' is a Sassoon piece that has become one of the most notable compositions in the Manchester born pianist's repertoire. Also the title of a 2013 issued recording that John Fordham in The Guardian reviewing the record at the time said was ''a journey back through the 1930s German-Jewish history her family had barely been able to discuss… Julie Sassoon consistently makes the piano, her voice and her deepest emotions sound awesomely and naturally inseparable''. Sassoon compositions such as 'Shifting' that have also appeared on 2021's weighty and very satisfying differently configured quartet recording Voyages are reprised. To the Power of Three's 'Coming Home' and the meisterwerk 'Land of Shadows' referred to three paragraphs earlier appear in both duo and trio versions - the trio one certainly capturing a remarkably fresh, vibrantly expressed and well worth full immersion in set of moments in time.

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Heidi Vogel sings in Budapest on Friday night

The Emile Parisien Quartet, l-r: Julien Touéry, Julien Loutelier, Ivan Gélugne, Emile Parisien photo, top, ACT play Cologne on Wednesday night

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Cécile McLorin Salvant and Dan Tepfer: A French Salon Grange Festival appearances

Among next month's festival highlights as the jazz summer festival season begins apace, the Grange Festival - a prestigious annual summer music festival held in Hampshire renowned for its opera programming - presents 'A French Salon' aka 'Les …

Published: 22 May 2024. Updated: 30 days.

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Among next month's festival highlights as the jazz summer festival season begins apace, the Grange Festival - a prestigious annual summer music festival held in Hampshire renowned for its opera programming - presents 'A French Salon' aka 'Les Belles Chansons Françaises' this year by showcasing multi-award winning American-French-Haitian singer Cécile McLorin Salvant and American-French pianist Dan Tepfer over two nights.

The duo explore their French heritage through chansons by Édith Piaf, Barbara, and Josephine Baker.

Virginie Sampeur inspired

There's also a world première (with full string orchestra) of a specially commissioned song cycle written for Cécile by Dan based on Virginie Sampeur's three last poems programmed.

The Port-au-Prince born Sampeur who lived from 1839-1919 is seen by some as Haitu's first woman poet and was widely appreciated during her lifetime not only in Haiti but also in France.

During the concerts Tepfer will also perform Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major. And the recitals will also feature guests the pianist Thomas Enhco and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gavin Sutherland.

Last year's Mélusine saw a big departure stylistically from McLorin Salvant widely recognised as one of the leading jazz singers of today. The eponymous figure in legend cursed to be a half-snake had originals and material sung not only in French but also the ancient southern French Occitan tongue as well as English and Haitian Kreyol ('Dame Iseut'). Sullivan Fortner on synths made a memorable contribution on 'D'un feu secret' and overall highlights included the jolly 'il m'a vue nue' ('he saw me naked').

The whole thing was beautifully sung - few singers have such formidable diction, emotional resource and strength as the American-French-Haitian musician. Further back in the catalogue for us Womanchild (2013) and For One To Love (2015) are McLorin Salvant's best albums and we heard her live memorably at Ronnie Scott's in 2015 when she appeared with the Aaron Diehl trio when the much elegised drummer Lawrence Leathers was in the trio.

TenderLee

Tepfer a decade ago was certainly high on our radar with Lee Konitz, Michael Janisch and Jeff Williams on First Meeting: Live in London: Volume 1 issued by bassist Janisch's label Whirlwind. First Meeting was recorded over a couple of nights at Pizza Express Jazz Club, a renowned basement supper-club venue in London’s Soho.

Cool School icon Lee Konitz played the soprano saxophone, an instrument he is not so much identified with, on a piano-less ‘All The Things You Are’, ‘Body and Soul’ (a piano/sax duo version) and ‘Alone Together’ (all four players, that’s Konitz with pianist Dan Tepfer, bassist Michael Janisch, and drummer Jeff Williams). Tepfer’s beginning to ‘Stella By Starlight’ was certainly one of the highlights as was the Monkian dimension, again Tepfer setting things up on the intro to the off kilter swing of the trio take on ‘Giant Steps.’

Dates for the Grange Festival appearances are 28 and 29 June - tickets & more information