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BEMOL TELFORT (2000) | The good news is the bad news was wrong

November 5, 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.

Bemol Telfort | 2000 ReleaseBorn 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 Torres).

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 Jazz.

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 piece.

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… to show a more positive attitude toward something other than Kompa. Highly recommended!

Alphonse Piard, Jr.
November 5, 2006

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