92

Franck Amsallem: Summer Times

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Franck Amsallem: Summer Times
Pianist Franck Amsallem's seventh record comes from a familiar angle, exploring the range of possibilities within a traditional jazz group. His sophisticated attitude toward the music gives it a rarified cosmopolitan feel, but that's only a mask for the quiet passion that lurks within. In this particular case he leads a trio and combines original material with standards, each tune coming in at a polite range from five to nine minutes in length.

It's impressive that Sunnyside managed to misspell the artist's name on both the cover and the spine of the disc; I doubt Franck has just shortened his name to Frank. He hails from Algeria via Paris, so the correct name makes sense, though he's lived in the US for over 20 years.

Amsallem's trio in this case conjoins him with his familiar partner Johannes Weidenmuller on bass and relative newcomer (for him, anyway) Joe Chambers on drums. The latter plays an important role in organizing a distinct sound here. On "Tom's Tune," for example, he lends a gentle percolating swing that sways and bobs but absolutely never lets go of timekeeping. Never busy, never aggressive, never in your face, Chambers burbles along in the background with enough perk and interaction to keep the pace interesting.

Likewise, Weidenmuller swings away on the bass, though he also comes across comfortable setting up more relaxed pulsing lines during quiet moments (as on "Laila's"). But the real star here, without a doubt, is the pianist. He fits less than perfectly into the mold of modern jazz pianist, deeply respectful of tradition but with a surprisingly limber and open feel, top to bottom. Melodic without dragging themes out, restless but genteel, he's not too far away from Keith Jarrett or other ECM pianists.

Amsallem's personal niche is a warm and inviting one. His liner notes admit that the "piano in my hands is mightier than the pen" (a humble assertion within that context). Mighty might not be the word I'd use, but Summer Times has its own reserved strength, and to be honest it's a welcome treat in the fading weeks of the sunny season. "Summertime" is a familiar experience, but it's different each time around.

Visit Sunnyside on the web.

Track Listing

I Got Rhythm; Summertime; Young and Foolish; Tom's Tune; Laila's; The Man I Love; Bud Will Be Back Shortly; You're My Everything.

Personnel

Franck Amsallem: piano; Johannes Weidenmuller: acoustic bass; Joe Chambers: drums.

Album information

Title: Summer Times | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: FRAM/Sunnyside

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Rhythm City
Rhythm City
Ptah Williams, Larry Kornfeld, Rob Silverman
Read Stringers & Struts
Stringers & Struts
Rempis/Parker/Flaten/Cunningham
Read Live In Maui
Live In Maui
Jimi Hendrix Experience

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.