Alexis Valet is a vibraphonist making a name for himself in the French jazz scene as an accomplished sideman with the Xavier Belin Quartet, Shauli Einav Quintet, Joachim Govin Sextet, and most importantly, as a leader. His compositions draw their insight from contemporary jazz, hip hop, free jazz, and electronica while keeping a strong footing in the jazz tradition. Valet presents a captivating album with Explorers. Filled with contemporary jazz, the sound is driven by a sense of invention and the magic of interplay. Joining Valet is Lucca Fattorini, double bass; Antoine Paganotti, drums and guests Ben van Gelder, alto saxophone and Bojan Z, piano on select tracks.
"Plaza de la Alfalfa" has a memorable bass line and memorable melody set to a straight eight jazz groove. Fattorini and Paganotti create a foundation for Valet to spin his lines over and capture the listener's attention with his lyricism. As an ensemble, the players control rhythm, harmony, and melody with clarity and listen to each other generously, evoking a fluidity in the music that is gratifying.
The rhythmic magnetism of delicate brush sounds from Paganotti's kit and Valet's warm harmony brings us a relaxing sensibility in "Any Sunday With Her." This number features a guest appearance by Ben van Gelder on saxophone, who turns in a solo of thrilling sounds of precision. Valet's improvisation is a celebration of the colors and moods of the specific sonorities of the composition.
Explorers is a project of impressive musicality and a reassuring collection of playing and listening by an ensemble filled with the comradery of well-chosen notes and luxuriant feels. Valet brings an ambitious European and American jazz project together in a manner that will satisfy the most discerning jazz fan.
Casual Polyglot; Plaza de la Alfalfa; L'Ile aux fleurs; Any Sunday With Her; Dixie's Dilemma; Voyager 1;
Dr. Jackle; Hats and Cards; What's Next.
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