Celine Bonacina: Way Of Life (2010)

By Published: | 7,174 views
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Celine Bonacina: Way Of Life
It may not approach the freak-show proportions of the bass saxophone Adrian Rollini popularized in the 1920s, but the baritone is still an impressive beast, one that has frequently been employed as much for its visual impact as for the notes it produces. Ever since Little Richard
Little Richard
b.1935
piano
introduced the unwieldy instrument to his touring band in the 1950s—at one time his reed section consisted only of two baritones—rock & roll and rhythm & blues groups have employed it primarily for theatrical effect (while favoring the more penetrating bite of the alto or tenor on disc).

In jazz, however, the baritone shook off its novelty costume in the 1930s, following Harry Carney
Harry Carney
Harry Carney
1910 - 1974
sax, baritone
's employment in Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
's orchestra. It took the bop revolution a decade later to lift the instrument out of the reed section and into the frontline, with Cecil Payne
Cecil Payne
Cecil Payne
1922 - 2007
sax, baritone
and Leo Parker
Leo Parker
Leo Parker
1925 - 1962
sax, baritone
among its early credible soloists. Serge Chaloff
Serge Chaloff
Serge Chaloff
b.1923
sax, baritone
and Gerry Mulligan
Gerry Mulligan
Gerry Mulligan
1927 - 1996
sax, baritone
followed soon after. But the baritone needs a firm hand if it is to be responsive to its rider, and, over 50 years later, the list of distinguished players remains relatively short.

It's not a list Paris-based Céline Bonacina is destined to join in the near future; not, anyway, on the evidence of Way Of Life, her second album and ACT label debut. Of elfin appearance, Bonacina presents an intriguing sight behind the horn, and this may explain the popularity of her trio on the European touring circuit. That and the pronounced rock aesthetic shared by her accomplished electric bassist, Nicolas Garnier, and drummer, Hary Ratsimbazafy, who generate plenty of heat and excitement. Though a technically agile player, Bonacina is in strictly musical terms a flabby soloist, careering around the edges of her tunes rather than developing them into coherent statements.

Most of material on Way Of Life is self-composed and most of it is fiery and rhythmically charged, making it perfect festival fodder. The most engaging tracks here are, ironically, two ballads, "Travel Story" and (a soprano feature) "Entre Deux Reves." When Bonacina slows down, and doesn't have to wrestle so hard with her instrument, she focuses more productively on the substance of her solos.

Guitarist Nguyen Le
Nguyen Le
Nguyen Le
b.1959
guitar
is a welcome guest on four tracks, and turns in a couple of attractive solos, but in the main, Way Of Life sounds like Bonacina's calling card for festival and tour promoters.

Track Listing: Zig Zag Blues; Course Pour Suite; Ra Bentr'ol; Wake Up; Free Woman; Travel Story; Ekena; Deep Red; RAB; Histoire De; Jungle; Entre Deux Reves; Toty Come Bach.

Personnel: Céline Bonacina: baritone saxophone, alto saxophone (11), soprano saxophone (12); Nicolas Garnier: electric bass; Hary Ratsimbazafy: drums; Nguyên Lê: electric guitar (3, 7, 11, 12).

Record Label: ACT Music


comments powered by Disqus
Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

or search site with Google