Of course you can learn to keep “clave” time, but if you don’t “feel “ it the way Adrien Brandeis does then you cannot – simply cannot – play it with as much soul as the pianist does. Euphoria is not just an apt name for his disc, but a deeply felt response to what the “clave” embedded in Latin-Jazz does to him – body and soul. Also in response – and this is of considerably greater significance – he has written how he feels. Yes, all of this music is written by the young pianist. In this regard Mr Brandeis is like the American Mike Eckroth and has internalised the quintessentially magical elements of Latin-Jazz, making all of this available in original music. And the music being as wonderful as it is, this is quite an achievement, especially for a debut recording.
Horace once said (and wrote): poeta nascitur non fit – (the) poet is born, not made. Mr Brandeis clearly is one such artist and his music establishes that he displays, quite appropriately so, the poetry of feeling in the superior nature not only of his touch and expression, but also in technique and, therefore, in the construction and unfolding of his melodic sensibility. Moreover, he is able to extend this gift to working out harmonic responses in a truly idiomatic manner, and this too for all the instruments in this ensemble. It is a delight therefore not only listen to the manner in which saxophonist Joachim Poutaraud responds to the galloping melody of “Euforia” and “Fausse Bonne Humeur” but also to the lilting, loping one in “Satao”.
Moreover there is also the fact that this idiomatic writing not only affects the saxophonist – the second melodic and harmonic voice on this date – but also how it impact the responses of bassist Guillaume Leclerc, and especially the drummer Ludovic Guivarch and percussionist Philippe Ciminato. All three rhythmists play with nuanced and evocative grace and the exquisite results are not only felt in the pulsating and rippling rhythmic groove, but also in the magical and mystical colours that they bring to the music. It is, however, Mr Brandeis’ record and he never disappoints – certainly not with the sublime art of his pianism.
Mr Brandeis brings an effortless pianistic urbanity and lyricism to all of the items on this disc. His rumbas and mambos are played with buoyant, aristocratic grace and psychological ambiguity and he is (rightly) almost insolently effortless, bringing debonair virtuosity and swagger when it comes to the unravelling and the sassy Afro-Cuban tumbao and swing. All in all this is music inhabited from deep inside the Afro-Cuban idiom, evoked as few young musicians can even hope to try.
Track list – 1: Euforia; 2: La Sonrisa; 3: Chestnuts; 4: Fausse Bonne Humeur; 5: Tamaris; 6: Light On; 7: Satao; 8: Quatro
Personnel – Adrien Brandeis: piano; Joachim Poutaraud: soprano and alto saxophone; Guillaume Leclerc: electric bass; Ludovic Guivarch: drums; Philippe Ciminato: percussion
Released – 2018
Label – Adrien Brandeis Music (ABM001)
Runtime – 46:23