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Romain Pilon: Colorfield

Bruce Lindsay By

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French guitarist Romain Pilon might have been inspired in his early years by AC/DC's Angus Young, but he's clearly taking his cues from much calmer influences on Colorfield. Pilon is accompanied by tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III, double bassist (and Whirlwind Records owner) Michael Janisch and drummer Jamire Williams on this atmospheric collection.

Colorfield is a bit of a sleeper. The music is uniformly easy to listen to, mostly slow- to mid-tempo and rarely if ever springs any surprises. Given a few plays, it begins to reveal itself: the melodies unwind, the instrumental subtleties—especially in the playing of Smith and Pilon—gradually assert themselves. The overarching sensation of relaxed, unhurried, musicianship remains.

"Man On A Wire" is a fine example of this relaxed and unhurried approach. Smith's tenor dominates, with long, flowing, lines—as it does on "Acceptance." Williams is also to the fore, weaving his percussion phrases under Smith's saxophone. Across the album Williams is the player who most sounds as if he's itching to move things along, but he's not breaking a sweat here, just expressing himself with imagination and skill. On "Three On Seven" Williams is again the most noticeable of the quartet, skipping and scuttling across his kit. This time it's Pilon's turn to craft the flowing and fluid lines with one of his most graceful performances.

Horace Silver's lovely "Lonely Woman," the album's sole non-original tune, centers on Smith's early-hours tenor sound: a sound that seems ideally matched to the song's title. The title track ratchets things up a little, thanks to the punchy rhythm established by Janisch and Williams—the groove set up by the pair is decidedly danceable. It's a temporary dynamic shift, with the pretty "You" soon bringing things back to the more laid-back norm, although "7th Hour" ups the tempo again with some impressive solos and unison phrases from Smith and Pilon over Janisch and Williams' bebop rhythms.

Colorfield is named after a type of abstract painting. The sleeve notes (uncredited, but taken verbatim from Wikipedia) give a little more detail on the subject. According to that Wikipedia entry, color field painting ..."places less emphasis on movement, gesture ... and action in favour of an overall consistency of form and process." It's a description that captures much of the flavor of Colorfield the album.

Track Listing: Acceptance; Twombly; Man On A Wire; Three On Seven; Lonely Woman; Colorfield; You; 7th Hour.

Personnel: Romain Pilon: guitar; Walter Smith III: tenor saxophone; Michael Janisch: double bass; Jamire Williams: drums.

Title: Colorfield | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Whirlwind Recordings Ltd


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