France's twin brother jazz combination, bassist François and drummer Louis Moutin, have just released their third Moutin Reunion Quartet recording in six years since the unit was formed as a showcase for their swinging, original compositions. It's another bop-rooted contemporary odyssey that is delightful in its scope and focus. The band is rounded out by pianist Pierre de Bethmann and the immensely gifted saxophonist Rick Margitza.
Part 2 of the "Something Like Now title track provides a splendid example of rhythm section supporting soloist as Margitza embarks on a strong, cohesive, and crafty solo. Rich with nuance and variation from bar to bar, it never gets repetitively boring. The brothers Moutin depart from their even split of original compositions on François' arrangement of "Bird's Medley consisting of several themes from compositions by Charlie Parker. This is a bass and drums duet from start to finish with Louis trading sticks for bare hands throughout, plus an occasional hi-hat accent.
Of particular interest is the tune "Take It Easy a wild ride, despite its perhaps tongue-in-cheek title. It's full of energy and fire, with the rhythm section uniting as a cushion to propel Margitza's intense soloing. De Bethmann opens the ballad "Surrendering with an extended solo that leads into the more poignant side of Margitza's playing. François' "Echoing is an acoustic bass showcase with minimal support. The other three players tiptoe in one by one to let its full feeling build gradually. "Touch and Go is a funky choice for the closer, adding more dollops of the band's Weather Report acoustic and electronic influences as de Bethmann shifts to Fender Rhodes.
The quartet has reinforced the feeling from last year's Red Moon: this is one serious unit with much to offer the straight-ahead jazz listener.
Something Like Now Part 1; Something Like Now Part 2; Bird's Medley; Take It Easy; Surrendering; M.R.C.; Tomcat; Echoing; Bottom Line Part 1; Bottom Line Part 2; Touch And Go.
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