The title that pianist Sébastien Paindestre has given his debut album translates as "Listen to Me. His trio, three creative soloists who also work well as an ensemble, back that up with a superb straight-ahead session. Paindestre's original compositions burn with a spontaneous, crystal clear intensity. The delicate touch that he's developed at the piano proves graceful.
In the hands of Paindestre and his musical partners, Stella by Starlight makes plenty of room for the notes to dance across the paper. Its familiar melody serves as a starting point for creative ensemble interplay where the pianist swings with feeling. As bassist Jean-Claude Oleksiak steps up with a lyrical solo, the song's melody weaves proudly through the room. Kenny Garrett's "United We Waltz provides an opportunity for the trio to stretch out over an exotic theme. They drive this piece fiercely, giving it a thrilling texture and enjoying it all the way.
Paindestre's "La Java de la Luna proves fascinating through its fluid motion and confident air. There's majesty to be found in every selection. Even the somber ballad "Certitude-Solitude comes with proud strokes and eloquent keyboard designs. The pianist's crisp delivery combines with his heartfelt blues sensibility to create a lovely trio session in the true jazz spirit.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.