All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Hubert Dupont: Smart Grid

Don Phipps By

Sign in to view read count
Recorded live at the Salle Jacques Brel, in Fontenay-sous-Bois, Paris, France, Hubert Dupont's Smart Grid offers up a complex and challenging set of modern cool, hard bop, and funky jazz. All six of the album's compositions were penned by Dupont, and share an emphasis on angular phrases and odd meters. The result is an engaging affair that keeps one guessing where the music will go next.

Joined by alto saxophonist Denis Guivarc'h, drummer Pierre Mangeard and pianist Yvan Robilliard, Dupont gives his band mates plenty of opportunity to stretch their talents.

Dupont kicks "Greed" off with a couple of bass solos. The piece breaks into a funky beat with some tricky syncopation. Guivarc'h solos—dancing and darting above the phrasing. Running sixteenth notes comprise a break and then Mangeard rattles the drum kit with clever march rhythms. Robilliard solos and he's joined by Guivarc'h before the altoist takes over. The piece wraps up with a pulsing and intense restatement of the theme and Robilliard's impressionistic, dream-like solo quietly shuts the door.

The cool and boppish "Eoliane" begins with a statement of the theme: sax and bowed bass play in unison. Dupont demonstrates his mastery of the bow with the first solo. He then transitions to plucking up and down the neck. Next Guivarc'h shows his chops and dexterity. Robilliard mimics Guivarc'h and as Guivarc'h begins to fly, Robilliard splashes in accompaniment. After the theme is restated, Robilliard enters with an impressionistic abstraction: think Debussy or Ravel. The rhythm section joins in and the piece drifts off like a lily floating gently atop a Monet pond.

Another cool number with clever but unusual metering, "Helliptic" opens with an up-and-down Dupont solo while Mangeard provides a funky back-beat and some nice cymbal work. Again, Guivarc'h and Robilliard interact playfully—pushing each other along in rapid sequence—and Mangeard emphasizes the jagged rhythm with sharp snare smacks.

Dupont and Mangeard kick off "Wonder" with a funky beat. Dupont uses a steady attack as Robilliard adds an abstraction: his piano phrasing veers towards free playing at times without completely crossing over, and he does not shy away from the highest notes of the piano. He and Guivarc'h restate the theme, and then, exhibiting flawless technique, Guivarc'h flies up and down the saxophone, part bee and part bird.

"Recondition" is an extended improvised abstraction. Dupont offers a bowed intro before Guivarc'h and Robilliard enter with dream-like sequences. The pianist offers up abstractions while the saxophonist plays long notes and Dupont and Mangeard improvise underneath.

On "Pendulair," the music has more of an emotional edge. Guivarc'h and Dupont begin with a brief duet -and then things get funky. Mangeard struts over the odd meter. After a statement of the theme, Dupont solos, and then it's back to the theme. Robilliard solos, using single notes and chords; his solo evolves into full-fingered playing. Mangeard responds with strong all-over drumming while holding down the rhythm. The intensity builds. Guivarc'h enters with angular and muscular lines. His playing approaches free jazz but stays in control. The theme is restated before Mangeard solos, attacking all of the drums with rapid beats.

Dupont's Smart Grid provides fascinating interplay over angular and abstract compositions. The music has twists and turns, sculpting an urban landscape in which one is never sure what's ahead. His effort certainly suggests potential. However, while the gifted quartet provides moments of virtuosity, the music, with the exception of "Pendulair," could resonate more emotionally. In spite of this limitation, the group's strong phrases and technique offer the listener a rewarding experience.

Track Listing: Greed; Eoliane; Helliptic; Wonder; Recondition; Pendulair.

Personnel: Hubert Dupont: double bass; Denis Guivarc'h: saxophone; Yvan Robilliard: piano; Pierre Mangeard: drums.

Title: Smart Grid | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Ultrabolic

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Fearless And Kind CD/LP/Track Review
Fearless And Kind
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read 25th Anniversary Project CD/LP/Track Review
25th Anniversary Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Any Day Now CD/LP/Track Review
Any Day Now
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Adrift CD/LP/Track Review
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Folkjazz from Finland CD/LP/Track Review
Folkjazz from Finland
by Anthony Shaw
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Circulate Susanna CD/LP/Track Review
Circulate Susanna
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 13, 2018
Read "Heart Knows" CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 2, 2018
Read "Melodious Drum" CD/LP/Track Review Melodious Drum
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 21, 2018
Read "Shadow Work" CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "New Standards Vol. 3" CD/LP/Track Review New Standards Vol. 3
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 5, 2018
Read "Presence" CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Dustin Mallory
Published: September 9, 2018
Read "The Ing..." CD/LP/Track Review The Ing...
by Geannine Reid
Published: November 8, 2018