159

Carl Michel Group: The Carl Michel Group (+)

Todd S. Jenkins By

Sign in to view read count
A new-century octet that pays loving homage to the old school while looking ahead. Michel and company combine a reverence for prior jazz forms with an adventurous spirit as they tackle nine original compositions by the guitarist/leader.

One might immediately notice the presence of drummer Gerald Cleaver, who is perhaps better known for hanging around avant-garde circles (i.e., his recent work with Matthew Shipp’s New Orbit) than playing in a more mainstream context like this. Cleaver’s presence adds the push and flow necessary to keep Michel’s band from sounding like an average repertory group. Even when the horns navigate the Dixieland-flavored “Jitterbug” (inappropriately named, as the dance just wouldn’t fly here), Cleaver punctuates his basic swing rhythms with flourishes and rolls that would do Art Blakey proud. Though none of the other musicians bear household-name status, all of them are capable performers with the good sense of jazz heritage that this music requires, along with modern ears that lead them to new ground.

“Les Can” is a highlight, nodding to the funk-piano stylings of Les McCann, and “N.O. Blues” is a slow, easy walk down Bourbon Street that is updated by the leader’s hot blues sensibility. Michel plays a high-tech Klein guitar with an approach that might be better suited to an acoustic, or at least an archtop. Sometimes he seems too reserved to be using such a potentially formidable instrument. The Klein’s tone is best suited to the shimmering “Song for Tomorrow”, a meditative piece with a suspended feel. Michel does a fine job throughout; he’s certainly got some solid ideas of how to move a piece along and construct a solo. His compositions are also of interest, though a higher level of energy might be desirable at times. Fans of the Phil Norman Tentet and older styles of jazz in general will most likely enjoy what Michel’s group has to offer.

(http://www.jazzcorner.com/michel)


Track Listing: Les Can; Skippin

Personnel: Carl Michel, guitar; Gerald Cleaver, drums; Tim Flood, bass; Mike Graye, alto sax; Andrew Bishop, tenor sax and clarinet; Paul Finkbeiner, trumpet and flugelhorn; Chris Smith, trombone; Ellen Rowe, piano.

| Record Label: Play On | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Sea Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Sea Ahead
by James Nadal
Published: July 28, 2016
Read "Natural" CD/LP/Track Review Natural
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 7, 2016
Read "Wet Paint" CD/LP/Track Review Wet Paint
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" CD/LP/Track Review Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "Pole Of Inaccessibility" CD/LP/Track Review Pole Of Inaccessibility
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "Espiritu Zombi" CD/LP/Track Review Espiritu Zombi
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!