132

Benoit Delbecq Unit: Phonetics

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Benoit Delbecq Unit: Phonetics What a wonderful band that pianist Benoit Delbecq has put together! This finely synchonized unit creates an exceptional ensemble sound with its dark, moody tones and circuitous melodies, playing music that sounds as if it were conceived in a cave, in murky shadows and cool and dry air. An unusual timbral mix—viola and tenor saxophone—sets the sound apart, along with drummer Emile Biayenda's distinctive rhythms.

Saxophonist Mark Turner provides the biggest surprise of the set. I had him tagged as more of a mainstream guy than he sounds in this context. Perhaps the highest-profile musician here, he blends smoothly into the ensemble sound, cool and reverberant, Stan Getz-ian in tone, with a consistently fresh flow of ideas as he teams with violaist Gene Van Geel in the front line. The viola, with a richer, more sinewy sound than its smaller cousin, the violin, goes unison with Turner's sax a good deal of the time, weaving an elastic texture, but it also gets its share of solo time, melding with the ensemble atmosphere to paint in tones of darker grey.

In Ellingtonian fashion, Paris-based Benoit Delbecq contributes his piano fills in a parsimonious fashion; and as with Ellington's piano-within-the-band sound, he leaves you wanting more of him. The band is his instrument, and he plays it extremely well. The pianist/composer (all the tunes here are Delbecq originals) has said: "I wanted to provoke an encounter between musicians I knew from different scenes, Europe meets North America meets Africa" (drummer Biayenda is Congolese). He's done so on Phonetics with remarkable success, offering up dark, exotic, mysterious music full of odd harmonies and malleable polyrhythms and abstract textures. A very new and exciting sound, even to ears that have traveled widely.

Visit Benoit Delbecq on the web.

Track Listing: Le Meme Jour; Multikulta; Zao Wou-ki; Pointe de la Courte Dune; The Elbow Room, Vancouver; 4MalW; Yompa; Au Louvre

Personnel: Benoit Delbecq: piano, sampler (6); Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Oene van Geel: viola; Mark Helias: bass; Emile Biayenda: drums.

Title: Phonetics | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Songlines Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Unnatural  Events CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Clean CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017
Read Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "From Here to There" CD/LP/Track Review From Here to There
by Mark F. Turner
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "Developing Story" CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Green With Envy" CD/LP/Track Review Green With Envy
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2017
Read "Playgrounds" CD/LP/Track Review Playgrounds
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Trio Miami" CD/LP/Track Review Trio Miami
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "Resonance" CD/LP/Track Review Resonance
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 15, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.