Henri Renaud was a Parisian jazz pianist in the 1940s and '50s who never lost his French touch. Outgoing, charming and a delightful composer, he was a natural point person for American musicians on tour in Paris in need of local sidemen, venues and recording opportunities. In addition to recording in the early 1950s in Paris with Bobby Jaspar, the Belgian saxophonist and flutist, Renaud recorded with Sandy Mosse, Nat Peck, Lee Konitz, Gigi Gryce, Tony Ortega, Art Farmer, Clifford Brown and many others American jazz greats. In early 1954, Renaud was in New York briefly to record with American jazz musicians for the French Swing label, a subsidiary of France's Vogue Records. For the balance of the 1950s, Renaud recorded steadily as the leader of a trio or small orchestra, writing a wide range of beautifully composed songs rich in melody and mood. In 1964, he began a long second career as head of CBS France. Renaud died in 2002.
Naxos has collected its four volume traversal of the lute music into a handy slipcase. All the volumes are available singly, but you can also buy the four together as a quartet of excellence, presided over by Nigel North, the acknowledged hero of the hour. What follows is a reprise of two volumes already reviewed - volumes 1 and 3 - and a look at volumes 2 and 4.
Listen to Bezuyaehu Demissie. Great Album from great artist.
Pianist Larry Vuckovich revisits his landmark 1980 recording on this combined reissue and new release. Prefiguring the much-lauded work of Dave Douglas and the Tiny Bell Trio, guitarist Brad Shepik, and even John Zorn, the Yugoslavian-born Vuckovich combines the ethnic melodies and rhythms from his native Balkans with modal jazz. Never as avant-garde as his contemporaries, Vuckovich nonetheless pushes the boundaries of both jazz and folk styles. The original tracks featured the brilliant vibe playing of Bobby Hutcherson, who unfortunately does not reprise his role on the four new pieces.