Clover

Vert émeraude
Yolk Records J 2077

A celebration and a triple busman’s holiday in the same package Vert émeraude not only marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of France’s Yolk label, but is the first time the label’s three founders have recorded as a trio under the collective name of Clover. Although all are part of Le Gros Cube ensemble, their individual experience is in other configurations: bassist Sébastien Boisseau in bands including ones with Tom Rainey; trombonist Jean-Louis Pommier with Orchestre National de Jazz and alto saxophonist/clarinetist Alban Darche with everyone from Tim Berne to Thomas De Pourquery.

Darche, who composed all but two of the CD’s tunes, has a particular fondness for Cool Jazz. In that manner many of the tracks resemble modernized Gallic tweaks of 1950 sets that matched Stan Getz and Bob Brookmeyer and similar reed/brass line ups. That means that such pieces such as “Le chemin vertueux”, “Hiking” and especially “Matin d'automne” sway with a mid-range motion as extended brass slides and reed vamps harmonize. The third particularly stands out since as the theme segues to a speedier pace, sax bites and trombone splutters dance around one another as Boisseau’s popping thumps creative a continuum. The saxophonist’s versatility also allows him to write other narratives which approximate Spanish tinges or in the title tune, a near baroque round based around a slender also sax solo. Meanwhile “Où sont les oiseaux”, Boisseau contribution, exudes alabaster cultivation expressed by a sliding, low-pitched brass burr and a higher-pitched reed beeps.

Although there are points are whish one wishes some of the 11 expositions were a bit longer, and that more forceful playing would add more palpitating tension to the tracks, one can’t fault the program too much. Overall, Vert émeraude reaches its aim: projecting a relaxed presentation of the playing and writing of three musicians with imposing maturity.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. China Pop 2. Le chemin vertueux 3. Histoire sans paroles 4. Susi 5. Où sont les oiseaux 6. Matin d'automne 7. À la bougie 8. Vert émeraude 9. L'Elfe B 10. Hiking 11. Snake

Personnel: Jean-Louis Pommier (trombone); Alban Darche (alto saxophone, clarinets) and Sébastien Boisseau (bass)