Monday, November 5, 2012

Sylvain Leroux, Quatuor Creole, Featuring Karl Berger

Pardon my week-long silence. Hurricane Sandy came to our shores and wreaked some havoc. Almost lost a roof but thankfully did not. Spent six days without electricity, heat, internet or phone, a rather sobering experience I would not want repeated. We are more than ever dependent upon incoming voltage in our everyday lives, which this week underscored bluntly. All sympathy goes out to those less fortunate than I facing the storm and its aftermath.

The week gets off to a suitably bright and upbeat start with an excellent album of Afro-jazz by Sylvain Leroux. Quatuor Creole (Engine 046) puts together a very compatible quartet of Sylvain Leroux on tambin (Fula flute), flute, alto sax, khaen, dozon ngoni, Karl Berger on piano and vibes, Sergo Decius on conga and percussion, and Matt Pavolka, contrabass.

The band works together for a lively Afro groove that will appeal to all with a sense of time. The quartet format gives it an intimate quality but the music rollocks and rocks steadily with tribal and Afrobeat influences front and center.

Sylvain sounds convincing and very together on his instruments; Karl Berger is right there with nicely ethnic touches and his good sense at piano as well as expectedly rangy and compelling vibes; Sergo Decius plays very hip congas and hand drums, making this session pop; and Matt Pavolka gives the groove that all-important woody bottom with taste, drive, dexterity and a nicely fat tone.

Afro-jazz that ranges far and wide, from a Bach quotation to infectious groove-reveling? You'll find it in abundance on this one. It's sheer joy!

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