Friday, March 20, 2009

Jef Neve - Nobody Is Illegal (Emarcy, 2007)

Belgian jazz pianist and composer Jef Neve leads a very interesting ensemble on this disc. While technically a nonet, the music is really trio plus horns, where the piano, bass and drums are up front in the musical foreground and then the horns well arranged and integrated into the background so they do not overwhelm the music. It is an interesting setup and worked well for the music which is consistently interesting throughout. One of the tracks that stood out for me the most was the nine plus minute "Nothing But a Casablanca Turtle" which evolves like a suite with sections for percussive piano and drums reaching crescendos and then subtle horn shadings that enter and drift out at different times. This is a very exciting and dynamic performance and it is the highlight of the disc. "Second Love" is another long shimmering track, led by piano improvising over bass and drums and horn accents in the background. Some of the other tracks on the disc focus on Neve's piano, like the opening "Airplane" which is a short, full bodied trio performance, and the title track, a sensitive medium-up trio performance. "Astra" is an interesting short performance including Indian overtones and sounding like an Alice Coltrane influenced piece. Overall, this was a good album. The way in which the horns were arranged to support the music was unique and added much to the overall flavor of the music. This is thoughtfully done modern jazz with some classical flourishes.
Nobody Is Illegal -

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