Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

177

Christian Bon/Francois Mechali/Youval Micenmacher: La Ballade du Serran Ecriture

Todd S. Jenkins By

Sign in to view read count
An unusual, captivating acoustic performance by a simmering French trio. Guitarist Christian Bon, bassist Francois Mechali, and percussionist Youval Micenmacher combine the essence of Django Reinhardt’s gypsy-jazz with world-music flavorings and occasional dashes of bop to produce a comforting, consistently stimulating program.

Bon’s guitar style blends elements of Django, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Byrd and a number of other influences into a coherent, uplifting flow of pure sound. Mechali, who could have been a bit better-miked on a few tracks, is vibrant and occasionally percussive in his approach. He knows how to stay well out of Messr. Bon’s way while carving out his own melodically challenging lines. Micenmacher is a nice surprise, as he usually manages to keep the pace booting along with just a relatively small array of hand percussion. This proves most enriching to the trio, as the trap set would only overshadow the string players’ warm subtleties on the quieter tracks. The group’s performances are marked by high-echelon musicianship, attentive interaction and judicious use of dynamics.

“Tordu” (“twisted”), the opening track, opens with the chug of one drum with the guitar and bass soon strutting in to trade bars. After a few moments the melody line emerges, a sort of Bela Fleck -Thelonious Monk hybrid. The guitar and bass provide rhythmic support along with their usual functions, as Micenmacher occasionally holds himself to a firm 2-and-4 thud to let the other men stretch out. This prudent balance sets the pattern for the entire set. Ballads, laments, splashes of the avant-garde, barely restrained mania, Brazilian and Eastern European echoes all work their way into this marvelous disc. A deep blue undercurrent flows through all, befitting the album’s subtitle, “le temps de voir blue” (“time to see blue”).

Given the current revival of old-timey Djangoesque acoustic jazz, this trio may easily find an open audience to whom they will prove cathartically invigorating. This recording might be difficult to find outside of Europe, but it’s worth hunting down for a refreshing change of pace.

(Charlotte Productions, 31 rue de l’arrivee, 95880 Enghien les Bains, France)


Track Listing: Tordu; Serenite; Face de mime; La vitesse; Mac Do; Trio No. 1 pour cordes et peaux; La ballade du serran ecriture; La terre; Gris de bleu; La rage; Photo reporter; Le desert; Trio No. 2 pour cordes et peaux; Harmoniques; Le train; Rappel.

Personnel: Bon, acoustic guitar; Mechali, acoustic bass; Micenmacher, percussion.

Title: La Ballade du Serran Ecriture | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Charlotte Productions

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read 20 CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read "Agrima" CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Heavy Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Heavy Dance
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 14, 2017
Read "The Traveller's Tale" CD/LP/Track Review The Traveller's Tale
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 17, 2017
Read "Living Tribute" CD/LP/Track Review Living Tribute
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Morphogenesis" CD/LP/Track Review Morphogenesis
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 13, 2017
Read "Blue Maqams" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Maqams
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 3, 2017