Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Félix Zurstrassen, Nova: Elusive, Igloo ***1/2

Pianist Kit Downes, above centre in the band picture, pops up in all sorts of playing situations, touring for instance recently with Seb Rochford, and here he is once again in Belgian bassist Félix Zurstrassen's group Nova making a difference as …

Published: 9 Feb 2024. Updated: 4 months.

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Pianist Kit Downes, above centre in the band picture, pops up in all sorts of playing situations, touring for instance recently with Seb Rochford, and here he is once again in Belgian bassist Félix Zurstrassen's group Nova making a difference as ever whether rhapsodic on the title track or more maverick and oblique on 'Piece for Ape'. The sound here has a number of complementary sources, whether the sax directions of Dutchman Ben Van Gelder or the more pastoral guitar sounds of Franco-Brazilian Nelson Veras. Tunes are often quite brief and you feel that they could be elaborated upon a bit more but certainly the band has appeal from both an intellectual and emotional point of view. 'Swirl' is probably the best track although you could indulge yourself and go for the moody more old-time sax lead on 'Adal's Dance' happily enough. Drummer Antoine Pierre is a usefully busy presence on 'The Tribe of Dream' and certainly Zurstrassen's sense of beat and propulsion should appeal to you if you like players like Jasper Høiby. Worth seeking out. I would love to hear this band in a small jazz club somewhere soon. Progressive modernistic ''acoustic'' sounds from a band with plenty of ideas and the means to deliver them - what's not to like? SG

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Tags: Reviews

Grégory Privat, Phoenix, Buddham Jazz ***1/2

Following the same pattern as Soley this is great from Martiniquan-French singer-pianist/keyboardist Grégory Privat whose fine vocals dipping into falsetto inject a Richard Bona-like life and vitality to the instrumentals although he has a higher …

Published: 9 Feb 2024. Updated: 4 months.

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Following the same pattern as Soley this is great from Martiniquan-French singer-pianist/keyboardist Grégory Privat whose fine vocals dipping into falsetto inject a Richard Bona-like life and vitality to the instrumentals although he has a higher range to his voice, the album shaped around Privat with bassist Chris Jennings and drummer Tilo Bertholo. The songs are very affecting, warm and emotional, the jazz lines mixing well with Creole, pop and electronic music directions. I wasn't expecting to be as taken by the songs. The whole album works as crossover as well as containing enough intimations of jazz to please followers of this fine player who may know his work from a more formal but very different chamber-jazz setting with Lars Danielsson.