All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

242

Stephane Morilla 5tet: Facon Puzzle

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
These are boom times indeed for fans of the Fender Rhodes in jazz. You have Craig Taborn in Chris Potter's Underground and Uri Caine in Dave Douglas's Quintet. Not so far back, we were even treated to six newly issued hours of Keith Jarrett's gloriously mind-bending early experiments with the instrument with Miles Davis on The Cellar Door Sessions 1970 (Sony BMG Legacy, 2005).

Between the Jarrett era and the more recent innovations of Taborn and Caine (among others), there were thirty-plus years of wandering in the wilderness for the redoubtable electric keyboard. During that time, the Fender Rhodes could most often be heard in nondescript smooth-jazz settings. French pianist Stéphane Morilla's group mines this comfortable groove; if not always particularly challenging, it is quite easy to take.

At several turns ("Oued," "L'Ouest"), the compositions and playing—particularly that of electric bassist Greg Theveniau and some of Antoine Bost's soprano sax interventions—call Weather Report to mind. This affinity is very much in the air in France these days; Façon Puzzle was preceded by the venerable François Jeanneau's very Weather Report-ish Quand se taisent les oiseaux (Bee Jazz, 2007).

The fusion supergroup's sound, however, was orchestral, liberally drawing upon the constantly burgeoning technological opportunities offered by the recording studio. Morilla's group, by contrast, sounds intimate, live, semi-acoustic. On the numbers with harder funk elements (the title cut, "Dithyrambique," "Youpie musique"), this distinction is especially clear. The interplay of aggressive drummer Hervé Humbert and percussionist Jorge Costagliola, critical to the acoustic and funky edges of this music, merit particular commendation.

Two guest artists liven up the already lively proceedings. Up-and-coming Emmanuel Bex's Hammond organ is delightfully cool on the title cut and the closing "Des moments simples." Electric guitarist James Mac Gaw of Magma, meanwhile, provides two solos, one nicely psychedelic ("A l'ouest"), the other elastically funky ("Youpie musique"). (As a footnote, curious non- French readers might be interested in exploring the supremely weird Magma. Imagine a cross between Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Kiss, singing in Klingon: that's pretty much Magma.)

Track Listing: Façon puzzle; Zarbe; Dithyrambique; Des moments simples; Oued; Daniel, Jean; A l'ouest; Youpie musique; Des moments simples.

Personnel: Stéphane Morilla: piano, Fender Rhodes; Antoine Bost: saxophones; Greg Theveniau: bass; Hervé Humbert: drums; Jorge Costagliola: percussion; Emmanuel Bex: Hammond organ (1, 9); James MacGaw: guitar (7, 8)

Title: Facon Puzzle | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Aphrodite Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Facon Puzzle

Facon Puzzle

Aphrodite Records
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Sunlight CD/LP/Track Review
Sunlight
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Arise! CD/LP/Track Review
Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "Mata Hati" CD/LP/Track Review Mata Hati
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "Spell" CD/LP/Track Review Spell
by Jim Worsley
Published: April 15, 2018
Read "Beauty & Mystery" CD/LP/Track Review Beauty & Mystery
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: February 16, 2018
Read "Dreaming Big" CD/LP/Track Review Dreaming Big
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "Rabble Rouser" CD/LP/Track Review Rabble Rouser
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "Never Bet The Devil Your Head" CD/LP/Track Review Never Bet The Devil Your Head
by Don Phipps
Published: April 2, 2018