Schroeder's "The House That John Built" starts things off with a challenging nod to John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," with the help of guest soprano saxophonist Billy Drewes. Schroeder's bass flute engages in a lively dialog with the sax, and the whole performance has a lightness and joy that transcends the harmonic difficulties.
The title tune features guest vocalist Janis Siegel (of the vocal group The Manhattan Transfer) contributing hypnotic vocalise, in conversation with Schroeder's Mongolian ever buree ('horn-trumpet,' a member of the clarinet family with the same timbre as a basset clarinet, which extends the bass range of the standard clarinet), as well as a lyrical double bass solo from Wind.
Paindestre's "Le soupirail" has an especially catchy melody and rhythm, and is a showcase for Schroeder's soprano saxophone playing. "Merg With Virg" introduces Schroeder's chromatic harmonicawhich inevitably recalls the great Toots Thielemanswhile also including a fine piano solo. The harmonica winds up being the centerpiece of the album, featuring in the following two tracks ("Le jour du vin et de la pivoine" and "Pont Neuf") as well.
This band has a great rhythm section, as well as two excellent composers. But in many ways their sound is defined by Dave Schroeder's remarkable facility on numerous, seemingly unrelated woodwinds. On this album he plays several horns, only partially overlapping with the ones on the debut.
The House That John Built; New Easter Island; Le jour d'aprés; Le soupirail; Merg With Virg; Le jour du vin et de la pivoine; Pont Neuf; Matamorphose; City Of Light; Thunder Dance; L'āme du temps.
Sébastien Paindestre: piano, compositions; Dave Schroeder: chromatic harmonica, Mongolia ever buree, piccolo, bass flute, soprano saxophone, compositions; Martin Wind, acoustic bass; Billy Drummond: drum set; Janis Siegel: vocal (2); Billy Drewes: soprano saxophone (1).
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