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Yannick Rieu: I Is Memory

Mark F. Turner By

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Yannick Rieu: The thrust of many recent jazz recordings has been to play fast and loud, pushing the limits of the music. But creativity also runs in the slower lanes, as on "I" Is Memory . Saxophonist Yannick Rieu was noted by Downbeat magazine in 1998 as one of the most promising new saxophonists, along with Branford Marsalis and Joe Lovano; Rieu has earned acclaim and respect with his recordings and performances in France, Canada, and the United States.

I Is Memory takes its time. Quiet and introspective, but never somnolent, the music finds the leader in a number of duo and trio settings with compositions that are interlaced with rich and varied textures, as on the title piece, which features Rieu's soprano dancing with the colorful percussion of Christian Lagueux. Other tunes may find the saxophonist in a trio with the heralded Canadian pianist François Bourassa and bassist Guy Boisvert, or paired with drummer Philippe Soirat.

Rieu's sound brings to mind sax leaders Wayne Shorter and Ravi Coltrane with his brush-like phrasing and probing lines on the exquisite "Hazy Listening" and "Petit Songe Garanti, where Rieu also integrates electronically sampled children's voices from a playground to create a dream-like sequence. Although his technique is one of poise, he also can heartily swing, as on the sax/drum duo "Like Someone In Love. The other musicians' contributions are key in creating atmospheric and cool vibrations of tempo, melody, and style. If you've never heard of Yannick Rieu, this recording would make a fine introduction.


Track Listing: Watp; R O; Song H; Like Someone In Love; Petit Songe Garanti; Hazy Listening; Roja; PSG; I Is Memory.

Personnel: Yannick Rieu: soprano & tenor saxophones/sampling; Franois Bourassa: piano; Guy Boisvert: bass; Christian Lagueux: percussion; Philippe Soirat: drums.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Effendi Records | Style: Modern Jazz


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