MARKUS SCHWARTZ - EQUINOX (2010) | Raising Haitian Traditional Songs to Jazz Standards
2010 - The project Equinox, born from a vision of traditional Haitian music being played at standard level is not only a milestone in the Krey˛l jazz endeavor but it outlines a new approach that canvas the boundaries of the uncharted territory of voodoo jazz. The idea of playing only with Haitian drums as the central element of the rhythmic section brings a unique and original flavor that gives strength to the music.
Produced and recorded (live) by Barry Diament of Soundkeeper Recordings with special recording techniques to reproduce live sound performance, the listener will appreciate a sound that gives the impression of being in the presence of the musicians playing. They indeed exhibit an astonishing artistry in moving our folk songs to the level of (Krey˛l) jazz standards. We enjoy Markus's dynamic clarity that shows, one more time after Ti Roro, Bonga and many others, how this instrument when played properly can raise polyrhythmic music to advanced level of artistry.
The intricate chemistry that emanates from this quartet is captured on six awesome "takes" ranging from "Kote Moun Yo", "Seremoni Tiga", a well balanced revisited version arranged by Markus and guitarist Monvelyno Alexis, to the very last composition "Gede Drum-n-Bass" a five-minute-rara piece that serves as a closure to this Jazzy escapade through the popular Haitian repertoire. Trumpet's player Jean Caze is very convincing and blends well in this new adventure. His solos are statements of beauty designed carefully to fit the voicing of this quartet and he contributes greatly to the colors of this opus. Paul Beaudry draws complex lines to integrate that polyrhythmic tapestry and interacts in and out with Monvelyno's colorful solos to support this dynamic momentum.
Every piece on this album is well balanced as would suggest the title; the word equinox, meaning length of day and night is closest to being equal. The collaboration between Markus and Monvelyno is something very fruitful in terms of creativity and contribution to the Krey˛l Jazz movement. It is also noble to pay tribute to Coltrane with that very evident title which pays tribute to one of the greatest jazz innovators of all times, who was born on this autumnal equinox day (September 23) as the drummer himself. Another gem for Jazz aficionados and collectorsů Highly recommended!
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Alphonse Piard, Jr. (ALPI)
November 1, 2010