All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

325

Celine Bonacina: Way Of Life

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
It may not approach the freak-show proportions of the bass saxophone Adrian Rollini popularized in the 1920s, but the baritone is still an impressive beast, one that has frequently been employed as much for its visual impact as for the notes it produces. Ever since Little Richard introduced the unwieldy instrument to his touring band in the 1950s—at one time his reed section consisted only of two baritones—rock & roll and rhythm & blues groups have employed it primarily for theatrical effect (while favoring the more penetrating bite of the alto or tenor on disc).

In jazz, however, the baritone shook off its novelty costume in the 1930s, following Harry Carney's employment in Duke Ellington's orchestra. It took the bop revolution a decade later to lift the instrument out of the reed section and into the frontline, with Cecil Payne and Leo Parker among its early credible soloists. Serge Chaloff and Gerry Mulligan followed soon after. But the baritone needs a firm hand if it is to be responsive to its rider, and, over 50 years later, the list of distinguished players remains relatively short.

It's not a list Paris-based Céline Bonacina is destined to join in the near future; not, anyway, on the evidence of Way Of Life, her second album and ACT label debut. Of elfin appearance, Bonacina presents an intriguing sight behind the horn, and this may explain the popularity of her trio on the European touring circuit. That and the pronounced rock aesthetic shared by her accomplished electric bassist, Nicolas Garnier, and drummer, Hary Ratsimbazafy, who generate plenty of heat and excitement. Though a technically agile player, Bonacina is in strictly musical terms a flabby soloist, careering around the edges of her tunes rather than developing them into coherent statements.

Most of material on Way Of Life is self-composed and most of it is fiery and rhythmically charged, making it perfect festival fodder. The most engaging tracks here are, ironically, two ballads, "Travel Story" and (a soprano feature) "Entre Deux Reves." When Bonacina slows down, and doesn't have to wrestle so hard with her instrument, she focuses more productively on the substance of her solos.

Guitarist Nguyen Le is a welcome guest on four tracks, and turns in a couple of attractive solos, but in the main, Way Of Life sounds like Bonacina's calling card for festival and tour promoters.

Track Listing: Zig Zag Blues; Course Pour Suite; Ra Bentr'ol; Wake Up; Free Woman; Travel Story; Ekena; Deep Red; RAB; Histoire De; Jungle; Entre Deux Reves; Toty Come Bach.

Personnel: Céline Bonacina: baritone saxophone, alto saxophone (11), soprano saxophone (12); Nicolas Garnier: electric bass; Hary Ratsimbazafy: drums; Nguyên Lê: electric guitar (3, 7, 11, 12).

Title: Way Of Life | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: ACT Music

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Say It CD/LP/Track Review
Say It
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Alchemia Garden CD/LP/Track Review
Alchemia Garden
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Don't You Wish CD/LP/Track Review
Don't You Wish
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Trajetórias" CD/LP/Track Review Trajetórias
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 5, 2018
Read "All Soundings Are True" CD/LP/Track Review All Soundings Are True
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 31, 2017
Read "Music For David Mossman / Live At Vortex London" CD/LP/Track Review Music For David Mossman / Live At Vortex London
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 7, 2018
Read "Luisa" CD/LP/Track Review Luisa
by Doug Collette
Published: July 1, 2017
Read "From Beyond" CD/LP/Track Review From Beyond
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 16, 2018
Read "Penmanship" CD/LP/Track Review Penmanship
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 6, 2018