Fred Nardin, the winner of the Prix Django Reinhardt 2016 of the French musician of the year, is a composer, musician, performer and an authentic Jazzman. His last album «Opening» features personal compositions and arrangements, was recorded with Leon Parker, a drummer with whom he has been playing for six years, as well as with Or Bareket, a promising bass player from New York. The teriﬁc playing of this Trio, their complicity, musicality and creativity make this album a marvel which ought to be on any jazz lover's shelf and will certainly lead to more successful enjoyable and vibrant albums together. A true sense of swing, groove, bop, with the elegance of the very few.
The transcontinental soul/blues duo of Pittsburgh's Billy Price and France's Fred Chapellier took their show on the road (in Europe) to support the release of the duo's Night Work debut. The results are contained on this CD/DVD package, a logical and energetic follow-up to the studio recording that reprises some – but not all – of those tunes, adds logical covers, and generally ratchets up the sparks, as live albums typically do. The 11-song audio CD runs about half the time of the far more extensive two-hour DVD, but both nail the vibe of shows that featured tough, resilient backing musicians augmented by two horn players.
I’m honored to discuss this CD. I found Fred Ho’s Monkey: Part One a glorious surprise, and this second section of his musical setting for the trickster tale is no disappointment. The ensemble’s personnel has few changes, notably Francis Wong as tenorist; but its spirit remains dramatic, flexible and visionary as Ho achieves tremendous range from trombone, three saxophones (including his own baritone), bass and drums, and several performers on Chinese traditional instruments.
Monkey is a two-part recording of baritone saxophonist Fred Ho's multimedia musical Journey Beyond the West, centered around the Chinese trickster figure of Monkey (à la Coyote in much native American lore) that combines Chinese folk music and instrumentation with jazz. Acts I and III (composed in 1990/1989, respectively) are featured here, with Acts II and IV (both written in 1994) on the companion Monkey, Pt. 2 disc.