102 Recommend It!

Meeco: Beauty of the Night

By Published: | 5,032 views
Meeco

Beauty of the Night

Connector Records

2012

Anyone unfamiliar with Paris-based composer/producer Meeco and his gorgeous, sophisticated jazz can get approximate bearings from two other artists. One is Antonio Carlos Jobim
Antonio Carlos Jobim
Antonio Carlos Jobim
1927 - 1994
piano
, partly for the influence of bossa nova on Meeco's writing, partly for the heart-on-sleeve romanticism his songwriting shares with Jobim. The second is Astrud Gilberto
Astrud Gilberto
Astrud Gilberto
b.1940
vocalist
, who is suggested by the Brazilian vocalist Eloisia, Meeco's regular collaborator. That said, Meeco is more jazz centered than either of those bossa stylists.

Beauty of the Night is Meeco's third disc, following Amargo Mel (Connector, 2009) and Perfume e Caricias (Connector, 2010). As on the earlier albums, the music has a retro vibe evoking the early jet age's glamorous conflation of Rio, Rome and the Côte d'Azur—something the albeit fleeting presence on the new album of chanteuse Jane Birkin does nothing to diminish. But it is more than retro. Classicist is a better description. Pianist Ahmad Jamal
Ahmad Jamal
Ahmad Jamal
b.1930
piano
calls the music he makes not "jazz," but "American classical music." South American and European provenances notwithstanding, the description lends itself to Beauty of the Night: well crafted songs, elegantly arranged and performed with intelligence and virtuosity.

Meeco assembled illustrious lineups for both his earlier discs, and did so again for Beauty and the Night. Pianist Kenny Barron
Kenny Barron
Kenny Barron
b.1943
piano
and bassist Buster Williams
Buster Williams
Buster Williams
b.1942
bass
, who came aboard on Perfume e Caricias, are again at the band's core; trumpeter Eddie Henderson
Eddie Henderson
Eddie Henderson
b.1940
trumpet
, featured on both previous albums, is still present; and flautist Hubert Laws
Hubert Laws
Hubert Laws
b.1939
flute
, included on Amargo Mel, is back. New faces include tenor saxophonist Benny Golson
Benny Golson
Benny Golson
b.1929
sax, tenor
, bass clarinetist Bennie Maupin
Bennie Maupin
Bennie Maupin
b.1940
clarinet
, vibraphonist Stefon Harris
Stefon Harris
Stefon Harris
b.1973
vibraphone
, drummer Victor Lewis
Victor Lewis
Victor Lewis
b.1950
drums
and guitarists Lionel Loueke
Lionel Loueke
Lionel Loueke
b.1973
guitar
and Romero Lubambo.

Everyone gets to solo, most of them more than once. Henderson, Golson, Barron, Harris and Maupin turn in gems, and so does Loueke on his feature, "Luzes de Flores." Loueke's own-name albums have been underwhelming—he needs to loosen up and not strive so hard to impress—but his solo here reminds us why bandleaders such as keyboardist Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
b.1940
piano
rate him so highly. Lubambo is another six string treat.

The guest singers—who share the vocals with Eloisia on five tracks—are as distinguished as the intrumentalists. From jazz, or ACM, as you prefer, Freddy Cole
Freddy Cole
Freddy Cole
b.1931
piano
and Gregory Porter
Gregory Porter
Gregory Porter
b.1971
vocalist
; from Latin soul, Joe Bataan; from Braziliana, Zé Manoel. Birkin is briefly heard reciting the poem "Ombres et Luminieres," written by Meeco's French/Spanish mother (his father is German), to whose memory the album is dedicated. The rest of the lyrics were written or co-written by Eloisia.

The CD release of Beauty and the Beast includes a second disc of remixes by brothers Marco and Robert Meister, from the Paris/Berlin musicians' and DJs' collective Terranova. Synths, both pumping and ambient, are to the fore; house and chillout beats replace free-flowing jazz and bossa rhythms. Rather surprisingly, it works. The music retains its essence, and, while the original instrumentalists are pretty much mixed out in favor of the Meisters' synths, Eloisia and the other singers remain centerstage.

A beautifully conceived and realized album. Play it and be seduced.

Tracks: Refrao de Amor (Chorus of Love); Gotas de Adeus (Tears of Farewell); Luzes de Flores (Lights of Flowers); Amor e Encantos (Love and Delights); Refrao de Amor (Sad Guy); No Fundo do Teu Silencio (In the Depth of Your Silence); Ombres et Lumieres (Shadows and Lights)/Nua Solidao (Bare Solitude); Beleza da Noite (Beauty of the Night).

Personnel: Eloisia: vocals (1-7); Freddy Cole: vocals (2); Zé Manoel: vocals (4); Joe Bataan: vocals: (5); Gregory Porter: vocals (6); Jane Birkin: vocals (7); Hubert Laws: alto flute (4, 7, 8); Eddie Henderson: trumpet (2, 6, 8); Benny Golson: tenor saxophone (2, 8); Bennie Maupin: bass clarinet (1, 5); Kenny Barron: piano (2-4, 6-8); Lionel Loueke: guitar, vocals (3); Romero Lubambo: guitar (1, 5); Stefon Harris: vibraphone (1, 5); Jaques Morelenbaum: cello (2, 4, 5, 7); Buster Williams: bass (1-8); Victor Lewis: drums (1-3, 5, 7, 8).


Track Listing: Refrao de Amor (Chorus of Love); Gotas de Adeus (Tears of Farewell); Luzes de Flores (Lights of Flowers); Amor e Encantos (Love and Delights); Refrao de Amor (Sad Guy); No Fundo do Teu Silencio (In the Depth of Your Silence); Ombres et Lumieres (Shadows and Lights)/Nua Solidao (Bare Solitude); Beleza da Noite (Beauty of the Night).

Personnel: Eloisia: vocals (1-7); Freddy Cole: vocals (2); Zé Manoel: vocals (4); Joe Bataan: vocals: (5); Gregory Porter: vocals (6); Jane Birkin: vocals (7); Hubert Laws: alto flute (4, 7, 8); Eddie Henderson: trumpet (2, 6, 8); Benny Golson: tenor saxophone (2, 8); Bennie Maupin: bass clarinet (1, 5); Kenny Barron: piano (2-4, 6-8); Lionel Loueke: guitar, vocals (3); Romero Lubambo: guitar (1, 5); Stefon Harris: vibraphone (1, 5); Jaques Morelenbaum: cello (2, 4, 5, 7); Buster Williams: bass (1-8); Victor Lewis: drums (1-3, 5, 7, 8).

Record Label: Connector Records

Style: Latin/World


comments powered by Disqus

Weekly Giveaways

Peter Lerner

Peter Lerner

About | Enter

Jamie Saft

Jamie Saft

About | Enter

Sun Trio

Sun Trio

About | Enter

Paul Bley

Paul Bley

About | Enter

Sponsor: Nonesuch Records