Yannick Rieu is a gifted young tenor saxophonist from north of the border, who has just released this very nice record on the new Effendi label, entitled Little Zab. This, his fourth CD as a leader, spotlights Rieu in different configurations featuring a set of standards and originals. Most of the cuts are quiet ballads that are either performed as duets, or in a trio format. Rieu studied at music conservatories in Quebec and Montreal, and has played with such Canadian jazz musicians as Jean Beaudet, Bernard Primeau, Guy Nadon, and Vic Vogel. Rieu is a quiet, melodic, and introspective player. He will at times put you in mind of Coltrane, but it's purely a sound thing. Rieu clearly has his own ideas, lines, and harmonic direction. His music ebbs and flows.....it breathes, as he creates lots of space and freedom in his music through implied meter and texture nuance. The absence of piano clearly helps to open things up, and the addition of classical guitar on some of the cuts is a most fitting substitute.
The set kicks off with Omiya II , a rubato introduction with overdubbed horns which quickly segues into a groove for which Rieu improvises graceful, yet complex lines. The pretty ballad Spring Can Hang You Up The Most is performed as a duet between Rieu and guitarist Sylvain Provost, who's vibrant nylon-string sound serves as a quiet, peaceful backdrop to Rieu's tenor. On Smile, Rieu is in another duet setting , this time trading licks with drummer Phillip Soirat. The set closes with the title cut, yet another duet between Rieu and Sylvian Provost. Little Zab is a very good effort on the part of Yannick Rieu; a reminder that our friends to the north are in no short supply of musicians capable of making honest, intelligent music.
Track Listing: Omiya II; Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most; It's Only A Paper Moon; My One And Only Love; Omiya I; L; Voir Un Ami Pleurer; Smile; Smoke Gets In Your Eyes; Bis; Little Zab
Personnel: Yannick Rieu (Saxophone); Frederic Alarie (acoustic bass); Guy Boisvert (acoustic bass); Sylvain Provost (guitar); Philippe Soirat (drums)