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Album Review

Jean René Mourot: EP

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The début solo recording of French pianist Jean-René Mourot features a mature artist with a clear aesthetics and musical vision. The classically trained Mourot turned to popular music after his initial training and only later studied jazz and improvisation with American pianist and educator Eric Watson, a close associate of the great saxophonist Steve Lacy.

Mourot's carefully built compositions draw inspiration from the nuanced architecture of such impressionist French composers as Claude Debussy, and from the minimalism of Erik Satie, but also from the lyrical sophistication of great jazz pianists like Bill Evans and Paul Bley. There is always an attempt to experiment and to search for challenging sonic options within the detailed, melodic envelope of his compositions.

EP begins with a romantic and fragile melody of the aptly titled "Introduction." The following "Trio" is also based on a spare, poetic theme, but colors it with contrasting percussive touches on the piano strings, creating a narrative with alternating conversational voices. The third piece, "Échauffourée," takes the concept of sonic clashes even further. The powerful, repetitive playing of the keys collides with melodic fragments, all articulated with sheer pathos and passion. The brief and slow "Interlude" retains the lyrical vein and introduces the poetic theme of "Yvonne," a captivating, emotional story, beautifully built and resolved. This melody is linked organically to the concluding "Ballade n.1," another sensitive and innocent melody, rich with flowing ideas.

A highly impressive debut.

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