Gilles Laheurte is one of the more unusual members of the New York City jazz scene. Almost 60, he spent most of his life working as an architect and planner, but was always devoted to music, his own as well as others. He calls himself an amateur jazz musician, but there's nothing amateurish about his release Dreams, which is full of beautifully evocative music.
The recording is a tribute to the late Steve Lacy, who was a friend of Laheurte's. Ten of the twelve cuts feature Laheurte on soprano sax, an instrument he plays with deep passion. The highlights are two long suites where Laheurte improvises over drums. The first, "The Sparrow's Reverie," features Laheurte with Mark Sanders. The suite showcases the many sides of Laheurte's playing, sometimes spare and elegant, sometimes Middle Eastern in flavor and sometimes cooking. Sanders provides a creative, always shifting background, which is perfect for Laheurte's flights of sound. "Koyasan Forest Walk" teams Laheurte with Masahiko Togashi, with Laheurte's sax running the gamut from fat and bluesy to sweet and flute-like.
The two cuts where Laheurte solos on percussion and cymbals come as a surprise. It's a different side of his talent and explains why he solos so well over drumshe understands both sides of the equation. His percussion work is inventive and multifaceted, particularly on "Kyoto on My Mind," a spacious song that evokes the majesty of the ancient Japanese city. It would be great to hear a Laheurte recording composed purely of percussion solos.
Experiencing Laheurte is a pleasure: his sound evokes masters Lacy and Coltrane, but he imbues the instrument with his own distinctive intelligence and heart. Dreams is a warm tribute, and it's also a coming out celebration of a hidden talent who surely has much more to share.
The Sparrow's Reverie (Part 1: Contemplation; Part 2: Melancholy; Part 3: Mourning; Part 4:
Pursuit); Rimane Poco; Kyoto on My Mind; Retreat; Koyasan Forest Walk (Let's Sing Let's
Dance; Whispering Stars; Something Leaving; Pray); Himeji at Last.
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.