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French guitarist and composer Didier Verna delivers his second album as leader with the very audacious Roots and Leaves containing eleven original compositions ranging from contemporary traditional to funky, bluesy and even folky at times. A classically-trained pianist who at age eleven moved to the guitar as his preferred instrument, employs the fretless and three other different guitars including a synthesizer to produce a variety of sounds that makes this album a pleasure to hear.
Inspired by the guitar-led Canadian jazz fusion group UZEB, Pat Metheny and John McLaughlin, the music of Leaves, in many ways, is a reflection of and pays tribute to, the different styles these multiple influences have had on the guitarist.
Joining Verna on this project are three of the most in-demand musicians from the Parisian jazz scene with pianist Laurent Epstein, bassist Yoni Zeinik and drummer David Georgelet forming the backbone of the leader's @-Quartet originally formed in 2006. Together the group lays down one formidable session of jazz worth repeated spins.
There are many impressive pieces including here among them, the opening and buoyant "Old Times," the blues-styled "Vert de Blues," the swinging "Monday Morning," the light balladic "Petite Mort" and the more reserved impressionistic "Maroc." Other notable stand out tunes not to be missed are two other bluesy-tinged tunes namely "Minor Nuisance" and "YYAB (Yet another Blues)" as well as the brief bonus track "Conconette" featuring the guitarist on an exquisite solo performance.
Parisian guitarist Didier Verna is a dynamic voice in the jazz world today and his impressive Roots and Leaves leaves little doubt that, with his talents as a composer and obvious mastery of the guitar, that this artist already has the firm roots and foundation from which to develop the international recognition he so well deserves.
Old Times; Circulocentrique; Coconette; Hints, Tips, Tricks ’n Cheats; Vert de Blues; Monday Morning; Petite Mort; Mister Crusoe; Minor Nuisance; Maroc; YYAB.