All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

311

Moutin Reunion Quartet: Soul Dancers

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Despite the reunion now nearly a decade old, there's nothing out of place or out of time about the vibrant Moutin Reunion Quartet. The group—co-led by twin brothers François (bass) and Louis (drums) Moutin—has delivered fiery album after fiery album since its 2002 debut, Power Tree (Dreyfus), but it's only been since its third release, Something Like Now (Nocturne, 2005), that the group has settled on the winning line-up of keyboardist Pierre de Bethmann and saxophonist Rick Margitza.



Since then, MRQ's combination of modern mainstream energy and tasteful application of electric keyboards has been honed with extensive gigging and a double-sided follow-up, Sharp Turns (Blujazz, 2007). Soul Dancers doesn't represent a significant change in the group's M.O., but there's plenty to recommend. Always informed by 1970s fusion supergroup Weather Report, here the references are even more direct than usual.



If there's any period in Weather Report's 15-year history that drives MRQ, it's that of Night Passage (Columbia, 1980), when the group returned to a more decidedly swinging, less funk-driven approach. MRQ's increasing reliance on electric keyboards creates a more direct lineage, as Soul Dances' opener, Louis' "Sold Answers," draws in structure and groove from Night Passage's fervently swinging title track. François may play acoustic bass rather than the late Jaco Pastorius' fretless electric, but the references are clear; he's an equally virtuosic player with a similarly robust tone and visceral sense of time. He also demonstrated that he's a deeply lyrical player in his solo on the balladic "Depths Light," co-written by the Moutins and paying homage to classic Joe Zawinul tunes like Night Passage's "Dream Clock" and "A Remark You Made," from Heavy Weather (Columbia, 1977).



That's not to say Soul Dancers is solely driven by Weather Report's influence. As they've done with Charlie Parker and John Coltrane on previous discs, a medley based on Thelonious Monk serves as a duet feature to focus most sharply on the remarkable symbiosis shared by these twin brothers throughout the disc.



With François' affiliation for Pastorius, the balladic tribute, "Blesses and Cursed," comes as no surprise. The bassist's material occupies much of the disc's second half including the knotty burner "Clinton Parkview," which features a piercing solo from American expat Margitza and an equally powerful acoustic piano solo from de Bethmann. Louis solos rarely, but his support—ranging from lithe, cymbal-driven work on his contrapuntally challenging "Forgotten Feelings" to his more muscular approach on the funkier "Momentum"—remains fundamental to the group's sound. And when he does solo on the closing, mid-tempo modal swinger, "Quiet Force," he demonstrates a focused sense of construction.



With a combination of engaged and invested playing that's steadily evolving a distinctive group sound, and a repertoire that draws on its influences liberally while still possessing a voice of its own, Moutin Reunion Quartet's Soul Dancers is another fine release from a group that continues on an upward trajectory.


Track Listing: Sold Answers; Depths Light; Momentum; Monk's Medley; Mr. N.R.; Blessed and Cursed; Clinton Parkview; Forgotten Feelings; Quiet Forge.

Personnel: François Moutin: upright acoustic bass, composition; Louis Moutin: drums, composition; Pierre de Bethmann: piano, keyboards, voice; Rick Margitza: tenor saxophone.

Title: Soul Dancers | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Plus Loin Music

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Soul Dancers

Soul Dancers

Plus Loin Music
2010

buy
Sharp Turns

Sharp Turns

Blujazz Productions
2008

buy
Sharp Turns

Sharp Turns

Blujazz Productions
2007

buy
 

Red Moon

Sunnyside Records
2004

buy
 

Power Tree

Dreyfus Records
2002

buy

Related Articles

Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Love Wins CD/LP/Track Review
Love Wins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 19, 2018
Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Mutt Slang CD/LP/Track Review
Mutt Slang
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Prisma CD/LP/Track Review
Prisma
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read "Džiazlaif" CD/LP/Track Review Džiazlaif
by Vitalijus Gailius
Published: June 14, 2018
Read "Continuum" CD/LP/Track Review Continuum
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 10, 2018
Read "Stolen Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Gnosis" CD/LP/Track Review Gnosis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "After The Fall" CD/LP/Track Review After The Fall
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 13, 2018
Read "Concert Of The Century" CD/LP/Track Review Concert Of The Century
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: August 10, 2017