325

Celine Bonacina: Way Of Life

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Celine Bonacina: Way Of Life 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).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: ACT Music


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

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 June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Burnt Hibiscus" CD/LP/Track Review Burnt Hibiscus
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Surrounded by the Night" CD/LP/Track Review Surrounded by the Night
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2016
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 14, 2016
Read "Upset The Status Quo" CD/LP/Track Review Upset The Status Quo
by James Nadal
Published: May 11, 2016
Read "Things Are Looking Up" CD/LP/Track Review Things Are Looking Up
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 9, 2016
Read "Soldani Dieci Anni" CD/LP/Track Review Soldani Dieci Anni
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 5, 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!