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Guilhem Flouzat: A Thing Called Joe

Dan McClenaghan By

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Drummer Guilhem Flouzat, gearing up for his third recording as a leader, had meant to steer his music along the path he'd taken on his sophomore album, Portraits (Sunnyside Records, 2015)—a rotating cast of musicians laying down a batch of the leader's eloquent compositions. But a post card slipped through the mail slot suggesting a step back- -a piano trio outing exploring the standards, in the classic style.

Turns out that was good advice. The proof: A Thing Called Joe.

With Sullivan Fortner in the piano chair and Desmond White wielding the bass, the trio creates a sound and mood reminiscent of the classic Prestige Records trio outings, especially those of Red Garland. The New Orleans-bred Fortner has style here that harkens, in part, to Art Tatum, Erroll Garner, and Oscar Peterson, and Red Garland, with its classy ebullience, its intricate refinement and bright erudition and elegance. Bassist White and drummer/leader Flouzat are perhaps more adventurous than the rhythm guys of the fifties and sixties, but every bit as in the pocket and supportive.

The tunes are familiar: "Perdido" "When I Fall In Love," Jaki Byard's "Mrs.Parker Of K.C." And some surprises are shuffled in: Thelonious Monk's seldom-covered "Osak T" and bouncy take on the Nat "King" Cole vehicle, "Walkin' My Baby Back Home."

With its classic feel, the astute selection of tunes, the adept sequencing, and the superb playing all around, A Thing Called Joe compares very favorably with perhaps the best of Red Garland's Prestige discs, Red Garland's Piano (1957), as one of those feelgood jazz discs that stays in the stack next to the stereo, always somewhere near the top.

Track Listing: There's No You; Osaka T; Perdido; When I Fall In Love; Walkin' My Baby Back Home; Midnight Mood; Mrs. Parker of K.C.; Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe.

Personnel: Sullivan Fortner: piano; Desmond White: bass; Guilhem Flouzat: drums

Title: A Thing Called Joe | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records

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