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CD/LP/Track Review

Pierrick Pedron: Cheerleaders (2011)

By Published: September 27, 2011
Pierrick Pedron: Cheerleaders Pierrick Pédron grew up in 1980s France listening to Neil Young
Neil Young
Neil Young
b.1945
composer/conductor
and the super groups of rock, as well as to saxophone greats such as Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
Julian
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
1928 - 1975
saxophone
. This combination of early influences can be clearly heard on the French alto saxophonist's third solo album, the fascinating and occasionally enigmatic Cheerleaders.

A combination of brass bands, King Crimson, bebop and a touch of Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
b.1964
band/orchestra
, all centered on Pédron's tight yet lyrical alto sound. It's an intriguing package, and to top it off, it's a concept album—one night in the life of a cheerleader. It seems to have been an action-packed evening, as the music moves between light, romantic, ballads and heavy, threatening blasts of sound. Just what sports team does this cheerleader cheer for?

The brass band, used to superb effect on "The Cloud" and "2010 White Boots," gives the music an atmosphere that evokes both The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles

band/orchestra
' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (EMI, 1967) and the sound of a million street parades. "Miss Falk's Dog" is a Henry Mancini
Henry Mancini
Henry Mancini
b.1924
piano
tune from TV's Columbo, reworked by Pédron and pianist Laurent Coq
Laurent Coq
b.1970
piano
. Not the obvious candidate for a King Crimson reference, but Chris De Pauw's strident guitar riff and Pédron's own sinewy alto lines trigger memories of the interplay between guitarist Robert Fripp
Robert Fripp
Robert Fripp
b.1946
guitar
and saxophonist Mel Collins in that band's early-'70s incarnation.

Pédron also excels at more reflective and considered tunes such as De Pauw's gentle "The Mists Of Time." Pédron's funky, post-bop, "Nonagon's Dance" is the album's most insistent tune, with an irresistible groove, but it's run a close second by "Coupe 3" which flits between smooth, mellow, alto sax, upbeat dance rhythms and more of De Pauw's sparky electric guitar. Coq's "Toshiko" closes the album, its air of quiet, sensitive, calm bringing the cheerleader's eventful night to a relaxing end.

Pédron's 2007 Deep In A Dream (Nocturne), won plenty of critical plaudits. Recorded in New York with a quartet including pianist Mulgrew Miller
Mulgrew Miller
Mulgrew Miller
1955 - 2013
piano
, the album was described in Jeff Dayton-Johnson's All About Jazz review as having the vibe of "a late-1950s not-too-hard bop session." Cheerleaders further enhances the saxophonist's reputation, moving things into stranger, but more original and ultimately more rewarding, musical territory.


Track Listing: Esox-Lucius; The Cloud; Miss Falk's Dog; The Mists Of Time; Nonagon's Dance; 2010 White Boots; The Cheerleader's NDE; Coupe 3; Toshiko.

Personnel: Pierrick Pédron: alto saxophone; Chris De Pauw: guitar; Laurent Coq: piano, Fender Rhodes, keyboards; Vincent Artaud: bass; Franck Agulhon: drums; Fabrice Moreau: drums; Camille de Bruyne: vocals; Monique Harcum: vocals; Nina Babet: vocals; marie Ange Teuwen: vocals; Nathalie Paques: vocals; Brass Band--Sylvaine Leroux: flute; Eric du Fay: horns; Etienne Godet: horns; Mathilde Fèvre: horns; Nicolas Dromer: horns; Guy Evra: horns; Lionel Segui: trombone; Christophe Gonnet: trombone; Bastien Still: tuba; Raphael Goutière: helicon; Thierry Gervais: trumpet; Patrick Areto: trumpet; Nicolas Gardel: trumpet; Jean Francois Durez: percussion; Nathalie Gantiez: percussion; Gaspa: percussion; Ludovic Bource: Farfisa organ (1); Elise Caron: vocals (1).

Record Label: ACT Music



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