In the past, thirty-two year old French cellist Vincent Courtois has aligned himself with an impressive cast of musicians whether performing contemporary classical or sharpening his jazz/improv talents with the likes of; Martial Solal, Dave Douglas, Marc Ducret, Steve Swallow and many others of note. With his first major label release titled Translucide, Courtois performs a few solo pieces and some feisty duets with guitarist Noel Akchote’, tuba merchant Michel Godard and trombonist Yves Robert. On the title track - “Translucide”, the cellist and guitarist Noel Akchote’ implement oscillating electronics as Courtois renders pensive, probing lines atop the somewhat cyclic and rhythmically charged EFX. Courtois’ 10-minute solo endeavor, “Cadence du Milieu” melds a neo-classical type approach with heated perpetual movement as he skillfully utilizes legato while simultaneously conveying a sense of adventure via fervent improvisational speak which includes a dazzling exhibition towards the coda! Throughout, Courtois receives quite a bit of mileage from his equally adept guests, whether performing a 54 second duet with Akchote’ on the appropriately titled “Soft Distortions” featuring just that, or while trading soulful lines with tuba-ist Michel Godard on “Vol d’ Elephant (part II)”.
In summary, Translucide represents a curiously interesting affair from a fine technician who possesses an equally convincing approach. Here, Courtois offers the listener a compact, concise glimpse of his rather multidimensional talents while also exhibiting an expansive musical vocabulary as he states his cause in articulate fashion along with admirable help from his friends...* * * ½
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.