Reviews that mention Louis Laurain

February 1, 2019

Umlaut Big Band

The King of Bungle Bar
Umlaut Records UMFR CD 29

Leave it to the French. At least that’s the sentiment that should be expressed when listening to this sophisticated and swinging 74-minute CD. Lead by alto saxophonist Pierre-Antoine Badaroux, the 14-piece Paris-based Umlaut Big Band has created a proper salute to American composer/arranger/alto saxophonist Don Redman (1900-1964), who more than any other individual was responsible for creating the historic big band sound of the first third of the 20th Century.

Although he also led his own band, it was Redman’s 1920s and 1930s arrangements for first Fletcher Henderson’s band then McKinney’s Cotton Pickers that he is best remembered and the Gallic aggregation runs through brief versions of his “hits”. Adding versions of arrangements Redman also did for the likes of Count Basie and Jimmy Dorsey, Badaroux expands the understanding of Redman’s artistic facility by having the band play several tunes he transcribed for it from manuscript in the arranger’s papers stored in the New York Public Library. MORE

January 21, 2019

Musæum Clausum

Musæum Clausum
Umlaut Records umfr-cd23

Frame Trio

Luminária

FMR Records FMR CD491-0618

Elaborations in balanced improvisation that sidestep Chamber Jazz delicacy, these trans-European trios alter one instrument in the configuration – as well as performing concepts – to create equally valid musical environments. Musæum Clausum is made up of two French Umlaut Big Band members, cornetist Louis Laurain and bassist Sebastien Beliah with German drummer Hannes Lingens. Meanwhile the Frame Trio consists of Chamber 4 members, trumpeter Luís Vicente and guitarist Marcelo dos Reis from Portugal, plus Belgian bassist Nils Vermeulen. Surprisingly enough it’s the drum-less trio which projects a throbbing rhythmic feel, while Musæum Clausum is more committed to stable undulations with few sonic peaks and valleys. MORE

March 12, 2016

Die Hochstapler

Plays the music of Alvin R. Buckley
Umlaut ub007

Christian Lillinger

Grund

Pirouet PIT 3086 Théo Ceccaldi’s Quartet

Petit Moutarde

ONJazz JP-001

Ziporyn/Zimpel/Zemler/Riley

Green Light

MultiKulti MPTO 12

Dikeman/Parker/Drake

Live at La Resistenza

El Negocito Records eNR041

Something in the Air: Young Blood Still Pumps in Jazz

By Ken Waxman

Child prodigies really don’t exist in improvised music. Occasionally there may be some youngster known for jazz playing. But unlike other musics which depend on a performer having a cute image or being able to copy what’s on the score paper, improvising demands full exposure of an inner self. Lacking maturity the majority of these tyros soon disappear. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t young improvising musicians. But to create notable works, like the skills of exceptional actors or visual artists, true musical talent is almost always refined during the player’s twenties or thirties. MORE

August 1, 2014

Festival Report

Jazzdor-Strasbourg-Berlin 2014
By Ken Waxman

The KulturBrauerei’s music space Kesselhaus in East Berlin was a fitting site for the eighth annual Jazzdor-Strasbourg-Berlin (JSB) festival June 3-6. With jazz and improvised music’s universality now a given, a festival presenting mostly French jazz taking place in what had been one of Berlin’s oldest breweries, now repurposed from industrial to artistic use, doesn’t seem that much of a stretch.

Overall its all-inclusive musical theme was confirmed by the programming of JSB’s artistic director Philippe Ochem and his team, which already host Strasbourg’s annual Jazzdor festival. Over four nights, JSB presented musician from different parts of Germany, Belgium and the US plus proudly delineated Basque and Corsican players, all of whom worked with improvisers from France’s major musical centres. MORE

April 2, 2014

Die Hochstapler

The Braxtornette Project
Umlaut Records ub004

Douglas/Doxas/Swallow/Doxas

Riverside

Greenleaf Music GLM 1036

Flex Bent Braam

Lucebert

BBBCD 16

Tom Rainey

Obbligato

Intakt Records CD 227

The Whammies

Play the Music of Steve Lacy Vol. 2

Driff Records CD 1303

Something In The Air: A New Take on Standards – Jazz and Otherwise

By Ken Waxman

Since jazz’s beginnings, the measure of a musician’s talent has not only been how well the person improvises, but also how he or she interprets standards. In the 21st century a standard song has evolved past its Tin Pan Alley origins, plus distinctive purely jazz compositions have entered the canon. But while more conservative players treat standards as immutable, the CDs here are noteworthy because their creators distinctively re-imagine standards. MORE

November 8, 2013

Festival Report

Crak Festival Paris
By Ken Waxman

Completed in the mid-16th Century in the flamboyant gothic style, the mammoth and solid Eglise St-Merry characterizes the Beauborg area on the right bank of Paris as much as the nearby ornate 19th century Hôtel de Ville and the brutalist, high-tech architecture of 1977’s Centre Georges Pompidou. During the second annual Crak Festival September 26-29 however, St-Merry’s musty arches, pulpits and 30-foot-high ceilings served as an unexpected backdrop for sounds from the 20th and 21st centuries and beyond. MORE