All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

3

John Hébert: Floodgates

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Finding three musicians that speak the same language—jazz—is not uncommon. However, finding three that are as compatible as bassist John Hébert, pianist Benoit Delbecq, and drummer Gerald Cleaver is, as the French say, recherché.

French culture is the theme of Hébert's trio recording. The New Orleans born, Cajun bassist invited the Paris-based pianist and Detroit's Cleaver (a city founded by French officer Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac) to record the follow-up to their inaugural release Spiritual Lover (Clean Feed, 2010). Floodstage continues their conversation, one delivered with distinctive enunciations.

Hébert, who can be heard as a sideman to a who's who of players including Mary Halvorson, Fred Hersch, Uri Caine, came into his own as a member of Andrew Hill's final ensemble. He collaborates in the trio Body Of Three with Taylor Ho Bynum and Gerald Cleaver. Like Hébert, the drummer can be heard in multiple bands, including those of Ivo Perelman, Tomasz Stanko, Elery Eskelin, and Craig Taborn's Trio. The conservatory- trained Delbecq can often be heard with clarinetist François Houle in a jazz setting. He has a strong connection to classical music, African-American jazz, and experimental musics.

"Cold Brew" opens the disc with a hauntingly painted moodiness that is eerily bolstered by electronic pulses that sound as if they were sampled from a 1970s sci-fi B-movie. Hébert's compositions, like "Tan Hands," are sketches for obliging, Keith Jarrett Trio-like music making and the bassist's sound here could easily be confused with that of Gary Peacock. But where Jarrett might zig, Hébert zags. "Holy Trinity" layers a heaviness of pulse over the mathematical structure of the melody— creating an understated blues feel. Choosing Delbecq, a classically- trained player with an ear for world music, Thelonious Monk, and early-fusion jazz, and Cleaver, perhaps the most expressive drummer working today, the idea of a jazz trio is refocused as a mischievous chamber ensemble.

Delbecq's clavinet heard on solo on "Saints" and in trio on "Sinners," sounds like a xylophone. The latter piece is a circular exercise that incorporates African music into the African-American traditions of New Orleans. The same goes for the traditional song "Just A Closer Walk With Thee," played as a straight church blues, and the rumble-rolling of "On The Half Shell" that pairs Joe Zawinul-sounding synthesizers with piano, thunderous bass and talking drum.

Track Listing: Cold Brewed; Floodstage; Tan Hands; Red House In NOLA; Holy Trinity; Morning Mama; Just A Closer Walk With Thee; Loire Valley; Saints; Sinners; On The Half Shell.

Personnel: John Hébert: double bass; Benoît Delbecq: piano, analog synthesizer, electronics; Gerald Cleaver: drums.

Title: Floodgates | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Radio
CD/LP/Track Review
Profiles
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Floodgates

Floodgates

Clean Feed Records
2013

buy
Spiritual Lover

Spiritual Lover

Clean Feed Records
2010

buy
Byzantine Monkey

Byzantine Monkey

Firehouse 12 Records
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read Ancestros CD/LP/Track Review
Ancestros
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Bitter Suite CD/LP/Track Review
The Bitter Suite
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 18, 2018
Read Ornettiquette CD/LP/Track Review
Ornettiquette
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Astral Revelations CD/LP/Track Review
The Astral Revelations
by John Sharpe
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Sound Of The Earth CD/LP/Track Review
The Sound Of The Earth
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2018
Read Return to the Future CD/LP/Track Review
Return to the Future
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 17, 2018
Read "1538" CD/LP/Track Review 1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "Ethio Jazz Volume One" CD/LP/Track Review Ethio Jazz Volume One
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 9, 2018
Read "Head Above Tide" CD/LP/Track Review Head Above Tide
by Paul Naser
Published: April 28, 2018
Read "Butterfly" CD/LP/Track Review Butterfly
by Chris May
Published: April 8, 2018
Read "Investigations" CD/LP/Track Review Investigations
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 27, 2018
Read "Explosion" CD/LP/Track Review Explosion
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 9, 2018