The appreciation of jazz music, like any other fine art form, is a highly subjective matter. Even though a style or genre may not meet a listener's expectation, music enjoyment can be measured by the audience's reaction when the latter is exposed to it. This was the case when Monvelyno Alexis and his group took the stage Saturday for the official CD release Party of "Kouzen Azakamede", at "Haiti Liberty Center" in Brooklyn, New-York.
With a cast of outstanding musicians, the guitarist opened the first set with "Mwen Rantre", a traditional song from the rich Haitian musical culture. The quintet performed so impressively, the audience quickly realized that this music deserve a closer attention. It followed with another traditional song "Yoyo", with special guest artist Prince Guetjens as lead singer. The band kept the audience in good spirit with the same exciting groove throughout the performance.
With a crystal clear sound Monvelyno took the audience to a two-hour- journey. He avoided unnecessary flare and boldness, playing in a relaxing pace, living to the gathering a conversational atmosphere, as he exchange confidently with the rest of the band. His singing was also impeccable: a true samba with poetic lyrics. The serene touch of bassist Trifon Dimitrov sketched fascinating rhythms to keep pace with the rhythmic section. Saxophonist Ian Rapian drowned precise melodic lines and fluent solos throughout the evening, especially on "Autumn Leaves". Markus Schwartz added tasteful and creative Haitian drums, flourished with a touch of soul. He worked as a seamless unit with drummer Michael Vitali, providing a dominant rhythmic force to the quintet.
After a short break to sign some CDs, the band returned this time with bassist Chico Boyer, one of the main architect of voodoo-Jazz groove. As a pioneer to this genre, Chico understands the importance of embracing upcoming artists. His playing was so ablaze with such authority that drummer Markus started to play on a different tone. His solo drums on "Gede O.D." clearly illustrate the above statement. The band closed the show with a Rara-Jazz medley. The groove was so intense on the last tune that the audience was on its feet to shake it a bit.
It is obvious that" Voodoo-Jazz is in good hands with Monvelyno's first opus. To close we will paraphrase former karijazz contributor, Max Lyncee alias "Brada Max". He used the following word about the guitarist's performance at a SOB's event (March 2008) "Monvelyno distinguished himself by being the one musician whose solo clearly highlighted the melodic sensibilities intimated by the rara rhythm". Today, the artist is showing a leadership in producing dazzling arrangements punctuated by great solos. The payoff is nothing but intelligent music that could inspire others to venture that route".
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010