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 Lour; Multikita; Zao Wou-ki; Pointe de la Courte Dune; The Elbow Room; Vancouver; 4MelW; Uomps; Au Louvre

Personnel: Benoit Delbecq--piano (sampler on "4MalW"); Mark Turner--tenor saxophone; Gene Van Geel--viola; Mark Helias--bass; Emile Biayenda--drums

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Songlines Recordings | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Live in Athens, Greece" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Athens, Greece
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2016
Read "Chance Meeting" CD/LP/Track Review Chance Meeting
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 28, 2016
Read "Live! from the Cantina: A Star Wars Jazz Tribute" CD/LP/Track Review Live! from the Cantina: A Star Wars Jazz Tribute
by Jim Olin
Published: March 6, 2016
Read "The Broader Picture" CD/LP/Track Review The Broader Picture
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 8, 2016
Read "Closer To The Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Closer To The Sun
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Live in 1967 Volume Two" CD/LP/Track Review Live in 1967 Volume Two
by Doug Collette
Published: May 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!