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A celestial and surprisingly fresh sound emanates from the first moments of Like a Tree in the City, Laurent Coq's first release on the Sunnyside label. This side of the Atlantic, Coq plays with tenor saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh, bassist Brandon Owens, drummer Damion Reid. Their ability to gel and groove and drift all with a unified aesthetic is notable at worst and virtuosic at best.
With a program of very progressive originals by Coq (plus "Dienda" by the late pianist Kenny Kirkland), the foursome manages to bring romanticism, realism, and surrealism to the table, from the ethereal "The World Belongs to Those Who Dare" to the suspended vamp "Friday Night at St. Nick's."
The beginning of "Sweet Sounds of Summer" is reminiscent of the melodic development of a Bach fugue and later turns into a much rhythmically freer swinger with excellent solos from Owens and Coq (who throws in some great Latin figures a la Chucho Valdes). Sabbagh shows his weight throughout with wonderful tone and harmonic genius. Chris Potter and Mark Turner better watch out, this Frenchman is set to tear up the scene any moment now.
The entire album lends itself to a modern intelligent ear and we can be sure there is much more heady original music to come from Laurent Coq.
Track Listing: 1. The World Belongs to Those Who Dare (Coq) - 5:44
2. I Dare You (Coq) - 10:26
3. Sweet Sounds of Summer (Coq) - 10:09
4. Round Trip (Coq) - 9:53
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.