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Benoit Delbecq: The Sixth Jump / Circles and Calligrams

Jerry D'Souza By

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Pianist Benoît Delbecq makes his debut trio recording with The Sixth Jump, released simultaneously with Circles and Calligrams, which Delbecq describes in a solo outing. The first disc amplifies his skills as an empathic leader whose inventive thematic explorations are woven in spontaneous interaction with his mates. The second lets him explore the dynamics of the piano elaborately, his sense of purpose expressively accomplished.

Benoit Delbecq Trio

The Sixth Jump

Songlines

2010

Delbecq uses the vantage point of the trio to set up a series of sonic structures. He is the centrifugal force as he plays with a keen sense of dynamics, even as he structures the harmony to give a composition its pith. Jean-Jacques Avenel (bass) and Emile Biayenda (drums, percussion) should also be given their due. Instinctive in reaction, they also drive their own creative urges in the solo spots. The result is music that tantalizes and teases as it vents its way to an appealing resolution.

Avenel and Biayenda set the upbeat rhythmic palette of "Ando," into which rolls Delbecq. His pursuit is studied as he carves a ruminative path that widens with an infusion of illuminating notes that gradually gather momentum and cleave to the pulse. The timbral scale has been elevated, the music now encompassing the senses until the shape changes when the flow ebbs over percussive intonations.

The sublime "Letter to György L." shimmers in the soulful articulation of Delbecq. His playing palpitates with emotion, the mood is tangibly heartfelt, and the tune glows in lingering beauty.

"Barragan" is another delightful reinvention of time and tempo wrapped in an array of melodic verve and plangent rhythm. Technique and creativity are the twin founts that heighten the lure.

Delbecq is a success in his new format, but this is not surprising given his proven ability to strike the right mood and chord in other settings.

Benoit Delbecq

Circles and Calligrams

Songlines

2010

Delbecq refines improvisation with versatility on his solo disc. He plays a 92-key Bösendorfer, a piano that is an extension of his nimble fingers. His approach is marked with choice delineation between the abstract and the written and he strikes the perfect balance between the two.

Some of the tunes Delbecq played with the trio are reworked here. "Ando" finds the melody navigated with a lyrical air and while the chords are emphasized to complement the runs, he also uses the body of the piano as a percussion instrument. The two vistas of the tune are stunning in their own right and Delbecq has the vision to make them so.

A conglomerate of piano, plucked strings and prepared sounds make-up "Biobeat." The beat is pliant and Delbecq infuses it into the melody, romping along while hammering home a complement of rumbling chords. The pieces fall in neatly, the angularities wrapped in a singing, dancing body.

Delbecq is an exciting presence who is enticing in his approach and marvelous in his execution of the music.

Tracks and Personnel

The Sixth Jump

Tracks: Ando; Poursuite/Drum Page; Letter to Gyorgy L.; Barragan; Piano Page; Aka; Le Meme Jour; Yompa; Le Sixieme Saut; Pointe de la Courte Dune/Bass Page.

Personnel: Benoit Delbecq: piano; Jean-Jacques Avenel: bass; Emile Biayenda: drums and percussion.

Circles and Calligrams

Tracks: Circles and Calligrams; Ando; Meanwhile; A Lack of Dreams; Alpha; Flakes; Biobeat; Le Sexieme Saut; Fireflies; Mille Nadie Remix.

Personnel: Benoit Delbecq: piano.

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