At the heart of things, the Bounce Trio's Contrasts is a set of good time organ jazz, coming out of the tradition of Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Dr. Lonnie Smith, three organists who emerged in the 50s and 60s, riding a highly engaging urban soul jazz wave. But in a genre that seems more resistant to change than most, organist Matthieu Marthouretleader of the Bounce Trio, based in Francehas steered the group's sound into modern territory.
Joined by guitarist Serge Lazarevitch, the "quartet" opens with Kenny Wheeler's "Kind Folk," featuring initial shaker backdrop from drummer Gautheir Garrigue, before Martheuret injects a cool and mellifluous Hammond B3 groove underlain by Lazarevitch's subtle chording, accompanied by Toine Thys' plaintive saxophone. It's a light, airy sound propelled by intricate percussion, as cool and catchy as music gets, not far off the traditional organ jazz sound.
The Lazarevirtch-penned "It Should Have Been A Normal Day (In Memory...)" nudges things away from the traditional. Thy's use of bass clarinet adds a different dimension to the soundsmooth and rich and mournful. "Bounce One," written by Marthouret, follows the funk route, with a full, hard driving approach and a Moog wah-wah singing over Lazareth's tight accompaniment.
An initial spin of Contrast gives the impression of a compellingly fun set of sounds. Repeat listenings reveal a depth of expression on the beautiful "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," from the Pink Floyd songbook, to Marthouret's "Innocent Victims," a sort of melancholy tone poem that opens up to guest vocalist/tunesmith K. Kummert's wordless vocals, gorgeously intertwined with the song's arrangement, to the closer, "Bounce Ten," with it's bouncing heartbeat of a bass line beneath stratospheric organ and tenor saxophone ruminations.
Tie this all together with a series of four short, otherworldly improvisations"Charade," "Smog," "Rage" and "Equilibrium,"and a very cool cover photo/design. Mighty fine.
Kind Folk;It Should Have Been A Normal Day (In Memory..); Charade (Impro 1A); Bounce One; Keepin It Quiet; Smog (Impro 1C); J.Z.; Shine On Your Crazy Diamond; Rage (Impro 2); Innocent Victims; Equalibrium (Impro 3); Bounce Ten.