Frédéric Borey, Butterflies trio feat. Lionel Loueke, Fresh Sound ****

Doleful, foreboding. Don't let me put you off because it's not a misery listen at all. Serious and involving is a better way of approaching this. And you certainly get sucked in to the maelstrom of ideas that demand attention. Anonymous tenor …

Published: 11 Dec 2021. Updated: 48 days.

Doleful, foreboding. Don't let me put you off because it's not a misery listen at all. Serious and involving is a better way of approaching this. And you certainly get sucked in to the maelstrom of ideas that demand attention. Anonymous tenor saxophone with guitar underneath and yet interesting double bass cracking the code means that there is a partial mystery to the beginning of Butterflies trio feat. Lionel Loueke. Herbie Hancock guitarist Lionel Loueke gradually comes through on 'Don't Give Up'. That's how the album begins.

The unspooling later in the track when saxophonist Frédéric Borey adds thoughtful soloing is a surprise because the structure of the piece involves a good deal of twisting and turning. The riffing is almost a theme in itself which is novel. Loueke adds his lullaby-like voice on his own piece 'Camille' and the album then becomes more like the Gilfema sound. (The Massimo Biolcati if you like is bassist Damien Varaillon and the Ferenc Nemeth drummer Stéphane Adsuar.) Sax added to the mix works very well and ultimately provides its own identity. I'd love to hear Chris Potter with Gilfema inspired by this. The softness Borey finds is compelling. All three of the Butterflies trio provide compositions on this recording made at the delightfully monikered ''Ohm Sweet Ohm'' Studio in la belle France back in late-May. There's always a special magic on a record with Loueke. Next year I'll be interested to hear how Gilles Peterson remixes Loueke's fine HH.

There is significant rapport here given that Borey and Loueke go way back to when Loueke lived in France, the Franco and George Benson-inspired guitarist having moved to Europe from Benin and well before he attained stardom in the States. Borey makes me think timbrally a little of a player in the UK like Partikel's Duncan Eagles but he is far more introspective here. And this album is serious but not pompous. There is no intricate circuitry to the soloing more plain speaking and a strong narrative voice. I liked the intensity of 'Insomnia' and the overlapping synth and sax lines when the players thrive on out-of-sync overlapping lines is stimulating as is Loueke's lontano singing at the end. His soloing on 'Commencement' has lots of modal detail and Varaillon really responds. Certainly a must for Loueke fans and a solid piece of evidence in the case for the defence as to how fine but too underknown Borey and his trio unfathomably still are. SG

Tags: Albums and EPs

Nicholas Payton, Smoke Sessions, Smoke Sessions Records *****

Smoke Sessions is picking up lots of radio play in the States topping the JazzWeek jazz show radio play chart at the moment. As noted earlier when we heard the first track from the album ahead of release there's an inescapable groove on this …

Published: 11 Dec 2021. Updated: 48 days.

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Smoke Sessions is picking up lots of radio play in the States topping the JazzWeek jazz show radio play chart at the moment. As noted earlier when we heard the first track from the album ahead of release there's an inescapable groove on this straighathead outing with 'Hangin' in and Jivin' a standout which sees the New Orleanian icon trumpeter pianist and keyboardist with Skyline's Ron Carter for the first time. With another Milesian George Coleman on board as a guest another plus factor the crucial fact that it is Karriem Riggins at the drum kit partly explains why the record works because the feel and groove are so strong whatever the tempo and angle. Payton shows he's a perfectly good pianist and agile on the Rhodes too, as good as many who ply their trade as such rather than let it ''play second violin'' to the horn he is known for as he does, the album sounds a treat in terms of the sonics so works on that level too. Listen say to the way the brushes are vivid and organic-sounding on Keith Jarrett's 'No Lonely Nights' which is another big stand-out track. The setting off with some ''free shit'' at the top as Payton calls it speaking over what sounds like the studio PA to the other musicians in their booths, raw Rhodes and a scorching blaze of heat that begins Herbie's 'Toys', is nothing short of spectacular. If you're into remixes a 'Gold Dust Black Magic' remix has also been issued.