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Eddy Louiss: R

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Having developed his own devoted following in France, Eddy Louiss attains spurts of recognition within the United States on irregular bases, usually related to his stunning appearances on albums with better-recognized names like Stan Getz or Michel Petrucciani. Fresh from his once-again original work on the 1999 Dreyfus release, Sentimental Feeling, Louiss investigates tunes with more of a world-music attitude on Récit Proche— and as a result, amplifies the vocabulary of jazz organ.

Rather than approaching music from the traditional soul or funk sounds with which the instrument will forever be associated, Louiss invents instrumentation and unattempted organ phrasing and timbres that are not for the weak of heart. “Marilyn & Bronsky,” marching happily along with the beat of a street parade, emphasizes electric guitar over organ. The combined effect features the appeal of an uncomplicated melody allowing for offshooting improvisations. “Incertitudes” certainly can’t be compared to any previously existing jazz work, the unadorned and evocative blues guitar intro setting the stage for a tune that’s most akin to a drum-and-fife corps than a traditional jazz group.

Just when the listener is ready to expect the unexpected from Louiss, his group eases into “Au Soleil Avec Toi,” a gentle samba on which he plays piano and on which guitarist Ecay acoustically recalls the appeal of Brazilian music for its melodic irresistibility over subtle and complex harmonic shifts.

“Pour Toujours” combines funk persuasiveness with saxophone lines that emphasize danceability over offputting freer jazz sensibilities. And “Summertime” moves Louiss closer to his American antecedents of the B-3, even as a tick-tocking quarter-note beat chimes behind him with reverberative insistence, differentiating Louiss’ version from any other’s.

Eddy Louiss remains one of the most interesting organ players on the scene. He takes chances, some unthinkable by any other organ player, on almost every album. And he perceives music from an expansive perspective that’s entirely inclusive in its influences and unbound by tradition.

Track Listing: Pour Toi, Incertitudes, Marilyn & Bronsky, Au Soleil Avec Toi, Comment Dites-Vous, Pour Toujours, Summertime, R

Personnel: Eddy Louiss, organ; Daniel Huck, alto sax; Xavier Cobo, tenor sax, flute; Jean-Marie Ecay, guitar; Julio Rakotonanahary, bass; Paco S

Title: R | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Dreyfus Records


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