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A Quebecois and his quartet…operating in a jazz space
neighboring Kahil El’Zabar’s rituals and rhythms. As
El’Zabar often had the mighty Malachi Favors, Leroux
often rests his composition on the sturdy backbone of
Matt Pavolka’s bass. Check out his playing on “Notis”
balanced by smooth conga shuffling by Sergo Decius. Leroux
is an interesting cat, drawing inspiration from Thelonoius
(“Monk in Paradise”) and the Fulani people of West
Africa. Evidently Leroux went to Gambia and studied
the Fule. That flute adds a hint of raspiness to
this album, check out “La Message” where Leroux also
gasps out falsetto phrases between the notes. Excellent!
Other highlights are the opening and closing tracks
where Leroux works a strung-gourd called the Dozon
Ngoni getting a great buzz and bounce that the band
amplifies. They create a feeling of buoyant clairvoyance.
Tellingly, on those tracks Karl Berger bypasses the
piano to tinkle in vibes. “Fantancolo” offers similar
serenity. “Fantaisie Creole” is an old school “mash-up”
not mp3 melding, but the quartet taking two recipes
stirred into one gumbo. It is the one track cracking
10 minutes, and clearly has the most evolution going on
it. KFJC often hits a lot of “exorcist jazz” (and I dig
the fire music) but this release is all about the cool.
Pace, playing and instrumentation flow gentle as a river
in the afternoon sun.
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