Monday, December 28, 2009

Nicolas Masson's Paralell's - Thirty-Six Ghosts (Clean Feed, 2009)

Is Clean Feed Records the new Blue Note? Whereas the famous label has fallen almost dormant in the corporate controlled, recession wracked new millennium, this scrappy Portuguese label has filled the gap, recording progressive jazz musicians from around the world. A talented tenor saxophonist of an inside/oustide bent, Nicolas Masson is joined on this album by Colin Vallon on electric piano, Patric Moret on bass and Lionel Frieldi on drums. The group gets a thoroughly modern jazz sound, drawing on diverse influences and experiences and making them into an original and integrated whole. "Sirius" and "La Phasme" open the ambum with mid tempo sounds before building to dynamic conclusions, particularly the latter, during which Masson builds and architecturally impressive solo. Funky drums and electric piano kick "Hellboy" into gear with some very dynamic playing by the entire band, and an exciting saxophone feature. "Thirty Six Ghosts" moves dynamically though a loud - soft dynamic that is well paced. Masson's "Yeah Baby" just kills: overdriven, 'dirty' sounding fender rhodes piano, pile-driving drums, go for broke saxophone, make this the most impressive song on a very well done album. Much like fellow minded seekers Dave Douglas and The Bad Plus, this group draws inspiration from alternative rock, pop and other sources in a coherent way, looking to incorporate these influences in their own improvised sound and vision. On this album they succeed admirably. Thirty Six Ghosts - amazon.com

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