Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cecile & Jean-Luc Cappozzo, Soul Eyes

Some avant jazz artists make a point of looking back from time to time to the rich history and roots of the music. Anthony Braxton of course is one, and then so is trumpetmaster Jean-Luc Cappozzo. He with his pianist partner Cecile Cappozzo take a lovingly lingering look at some Charles Mingus and Mal Waldron gems on the recent Soul Eyes (Fou Records FR-CD15). Mingus gets his due in versions of "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," "Nostalgia in Times Square" and "Pithecathropus Erectus"; Waldron is remember with "No More Tears," "The Seagulls of Kristiansund" and perhaps his best known composition-song, the title cut "Soul Eyes."

Cecile puts forth a lean-to-lush, crisply modern piano style that evokes everyone from Monk to Ran Blake (and of course a gesture towards the pianisms of Mingus and Waldron) but does it in her own way. Jean-Luc brings in some of his special avant timbrality but then can be touchingly straightforward, as in his articulation of the "Pork Pie" melody line. Both are very much on their game.

The duo format allows plenty of loose flexibility which the two realize with a oneness that communicates readily and happily. And in the process the artistry of Cecile and Jean-Luc comes through with dedication and a sort of reverence to the masters that projects outwards with nice forays into the outer realms now and again, but can and does stay nicely within the changes of the songs as the spirit moves.

It is a beautiful set that manages to remind you how central these songs still are--and also how much improvisational room there still remains for the right artists to refresh the music.

These are some magical performances that just about any jazz enthusiast should respond to like I have. Bravo!

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