BEMOL TELFORT (2000) | The
good news is the bad news was wrong
2006 - Bémol
Jean Telfort first came to prominence when he launched
his first album in 2000 under this surprising title:
"The good news is the bad news was wrong".
The guitarist delivered a high caliber recording
brimming with colorful and complex arrangements.
As of today, six years later, this album remains
one of the best ever produced on the Kréyòl
Jazz scene. "Great playing, very clean, very
creative, good arrangements and strong writing."
These are the phrases used by guitar player, David
Osuna to describe this album.
Born in Haiti, Bémol started focusing on
guitar very early and envisioned probably this instrument
as a mean of producing something great and exceptional
in his life. He started as self taught and upon
discovering George Benson's smooth sound, he decided
to embrace his path adding however a touch of his
culture. Indeed all Bémol's compositions
are built from a systematic exploration of our traditional
music. As a percussionist he is able to build complex
background based on multiple combinations of our
basic cultural rhythms. This immersion in such a
convoluted lineage makes him join the bandwagon
of this incessantly growing musical experience known
as Kreyòl Jazz.
The CD opens on one of the most brilliant adaptation
of Soley (Latibonit). The melody is played in octave,
the music is flowing. The guitarist's touch is subtle
and fluid. The sound is clean and precise. When
I first heard this piece in 2000, I wondered if
it was George Benson playing Haitian folk songs.
Of course I figured out after a few notes that it
was not Benson. The style reminded of the great
guitarist but the sound was different. The rhythmic
section is awesome with an omnipresent drummer (Abner
Admiration is another piece on the CD where he plays
an acoustic nylon string guitar. Here again, he
delivers a beautiful solo with an awesome sound
comparable to the highest standards of contemporary
Consolation is a soothing piece brimming with a
large array of pleasant sounds. The melody is executed
in unison (Guitar/Saxophone) starting the second
verse. This creates a beautiful spatial effect.
Thumbs up for saxophonist Didier Labossière
who fits so well into this poised ballad.
The homage to GB is a piece that pays tribute to
the great master. This piece reminds a certain period
of the genius (the other side of Abbey Road, the
tribute of GB to the Beattles). Superb arrangements
All the pieces on this CD are well done and the
mark is set very high.
The exquisite light touch of this wonderful musician,
his amazing improvisation sense compels us to appreciate
more our rich culture. His sublime take on Wes Montgomery's
"Road Song" is a delight and was commented
on NPR as one of the best. Uncompromising and unafraid
he also created expansive musical variations from
well known theme. The piece "the contrary fact
of TF" exemplifies with brilliance this talent.
The guitarist took the same rhythmic background
of Paul Desmond's master piece Take Five and made
something new out of it. This is a very original
BT remains one of the most prominent forces in the
Kreyòl jazz scene. His first CD made it clear
that this guitar virtuoso's undeniable talents are
compelled to evolve and grow. Bémol made
his point about his breakaway from the limiting
confines of the Kompa style playing. He has established
himself as a key player on the jazz scene and our
hope is there will be more, in that vein, to come.
This CD must be on your collection. It will bring
joy in your house for years to come. When the CD
came out, there was all kind of reaction to it.
Fortunately, folks are catching up and the Haitian
audience is more inclined now to listen
show a more positive attitude toward something other
than Kompa. Highly recommended!
Alphonse Piard, Jr.
November 5, 2006