Tag Archives: Benoit Delbecq

Noiself review by Jesús Gonzalo

CF290John Hébert Trio – FloodStage (CF 290)
John Hébert figura en algunos de los tríos de pianistas más creativos y variados del último decenio: Russ Lossing, Uri Caine, Fred Hersch o John Escreet, aunque su experiencia más determinante e histórica le uniera al último Andrew Hill. El pianista y teclista parisino Benoît Delbecq se posiciona como un referente estético innovador que trasciende su discreta y moderna maestría en los teclados (en el trío con Samuel Blaser y Gerry Gemingway) al tiempo que cobra prestigio como productor a ambos lados del océano (con François Houle 5 +1 en Canadá y con el Samuel Blaser Quartet en Nueva York). De la dimensión percusiva única que imprime Gerald Cleaver en cada colaboración habla su presencia en algunos de los proyectos (tríos con Craig Taborn y William Parker, cuarteto con Formanek y Tomasz Stanko, octeto con Hébert-Lucian Ban sobre Enesco) más señalados del jazz avanzado reciente.

Juntar tres músicos tan originales, versátiles y expresivos como ellos, liderados no por un pianista sino por un contrabajista, ya supuso una señalada toma de contacto en su anterior trabajo. Tras Spiritual Lover (2010), y pese a tener carreras todos ellos cargadas de agenda, la alianza se consolida con este segundo disco para el sello portugués, anunciando gira en Europa para 2015. En un tono general que resulta magnético y penetrante, nunca cerebral ni meditativo, el concepto poliédrico en estilos y espacios que nos ofrecieron se reafirma al tiempo que interioriza y gana en expresión.

Queda matizada y más sutilmente interpretada su vertiente eléctrica, que les acercaba a un original sonido de jazz fusión, haciendo prevalecer la acústica. Pero esa original ambivalencia electroacústica de piano-teclado queda contrastada por el primer Cold Brewed y el último On the Half Shell títulos, en los que se pasa de una atmósfera sicodélica imaginada por Paul Bley a un Ornette Coleman festivo que se encuentra con Joe Zawinul, en un tiempo bop sin igual de Gerald Cleaver; o de la balada Loire Valley al bello tema africano Saints, donde Benoît Delbecq toca teclado y “piano preparado” imitando a una kalimba, un kora y un balafón al mismo tiempo, que da paso, tras un breve silencio, a la explosión de color en Sinners manteniendo la naturaleza africana.

Pese a desplegar empuje y texturas, se puede decir que es la inmersión en el sonido y en la pulsación continua la que generan un clima melódico único. De este modo, detalle e imaginación producen una música abierta, hermosa y plena.

http://noiself.blogspot.com.es/2014/08/john-hebert-trio-floodstage.html

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The New York City Jazz Record review by John Sharpe

CF 290John Hébert Trio – Floodstage (CF 290)
Bassist John Hébert has clearly picked up a thing or two from his association with some of the hottest names in the business, from Andrew Hill and Fred Hersch to Mary Halvorson, Ingrid Laubrock, Peter Evans and Taylor Ho Bynum. He steps into the limelight on Floodstage, the sophomore effort by his trio with French pianist Benoît Delbecq, renowned for his use of piano preparations, and in-demand drummer Gerald Cleaver. He’s made his choice of bandmates wisely, as they follow the model of egalitarian interplay championed by pianist Bill Evans and developed via the likes of Paul Bley and Howard Riley.

Hébert’s writing generates unforced but thoughtful interaction full of barely suppressed emotion. Although leader, the Louisiana native remains unshowy. His solid resonance allied to flawless judgement gives his contributions an air of inevitability, as he appears to subscribe to the Charlie Haden school of bass playing, in which one note takes the place of ten. Cleaver proves the perfect foil, his subtle impressionistic momentum, comprising splashy cymbals, tappy percussion and tight rolls, hinting at the beat but rarely settling on it consistently. Delbecq combines polyrhythms with melodic fragments and
minimalist repetition, which mesh into a propulsive latticework, most persuasively on the unaccompanied “Saints” and then with accompaniment on the subsequent “Sinners”.

In a splendid opening summing up the ambience of the disc, both weighty and airy at the same time, “Cold Brewed” offers a heady mix of prepared and
regular piano, amid a flurry of cymbals and measured bass. To that Delbecq adds some birdlike warbles from his analog synth in one of the most tasteful uses of electronics on record, neither sounding alien or overwhelming the acoustic instruments. On the title cut, tension between bass and piano resolves into an off-kilter swing, where the three demonstrate their mastery, slightly expanding and contracting the time.

A similarly left field approach informs the only nonoriginal, an intriguing rendition of the traditional “Just A Closer Walk With Thee”, which drifts dreamily in and out of bluesy focus. Nothing is quite what it seems,
except that there is more to appreciate with each listen.

Free Jazz review by Tom Burris

CF 290John Hebert Trio – Floodstage (CF 290)
*****
The sophomore album from the John Hebert Trio, following 2010’s Spiritual Lover disc (also on Clean Feed), opens with a rich, dark, brooding atmosphere of the sort Miles Davis used to conjure up in the 1970s. The piano trio, led by prominent NYC bassist Hebert, is augmented by a weird electronic delay-soaked pulse that flies in and out of the track like a drunken firefly in search of a place to pass out. This piano trio is different.

Things start swinging right away following this slightly surreal introduction with the title track, but it retains a dreamlike quality. The pulse wobbles and changes tempo and direction often enough that the alcohol-soaked quality comes to mind again; but I also can’t help thinking of a dust devil in slow motion. (Isn’t that it on the cover?) Drummer Gerald Cleaver is especially expressive here as he pushes and pulls the momentum of the music like a puppeteer controlling a mobile in a wind storm.

The next track, “Tan Hands,” features pianist Benoit Delbecq doing his best Keith Jarrett impression while Hebert does Gary Peacock and Cleaver does Paul Motian. Definitely derivative, but an homage that works and sounds absolutely gorgeous while still retaining the mysterious depth of the previous two songs. (Interestingly, the band also reminds me of Paul Bley – with Peacock and Motian – on a track sequenced later on the album called “Morning Mama.”)

This is followed by a very abstract blues called “Red House in NOLA,” appropriately steeped in humidity. Hebert and Delbecq dance gracefully around each other while Cleaver avoids steering the mobile into anything, letting its pieces clang softly in the breeze. This is followed by a rolling groove-based track called “Holy Trinity,” which sets the album back on the main road again with quiet force.
Among the many highlights: Delbecq plays a clavinet that sounds like a muted marimba or a thumb piano on “Saints,” which is followed by a track called “Sinners,” on which Hebert and Cleaver join in with Delbecq to thank Africa for talking to them. The band tackles “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” with a purity of heart that will put a big dumb smile on your face. Then there’s “On The Half Shell,” on which Delbecq combines piano and electric keys, playing the melody line an octave apart on each. Hebert is jumping all over the neck of the bass as well, full of giant octave leaps. Cleaver is again the playful driver of this bus, threatening to run them off the road at every turn just for fun, but in complete control of every situation.

I honestly love every second of this recording. There is mystery, beauty, soulfulness and darkness throughout; and the rapport between the players is beyond exceptional – but what absolutely kills me is the glowing tube-amp, wood fire, Christmas lights, cherry-pie-right-out-of-the-oven warmth of every single track. Maybe it’s this sub-zero Midwestern nightmare of a winter talking, but I think I’m going to spend every dark evening driving home from work to this album for the next month or so.
http://www.freejazzblog.org/

Cuadernos de Jazz review by Jesús Gonzalo

John Hébert Trio – SPIRITUAL LOVER (CF 175) ****
Miembro destacado de algunos de los tríos más señeros del último lustro, como el de Russ Lossing, como reciente incorporación en el de Uri Caine o quizá en su experiencia más determinante en este formato como privilegiado testigo del último de Andrew Hill, Hébert lidera el suyo propio sin ceder al criterio de ninguno de los anteriores ilustres pianistas. Ni tan siquiera hay un asomo de afinidad con el sonido terrenal de su más preciado proyecto Byzantine Monkey. El secreto, encontrándonos con la intrincada y cómplice espaciosidad que mantiene con Lossing, la compleja construcción de los tiempos iniciales de Hill y las texturas menos animadas del Bedrock de Caine, habría que buscarlo en un trabajo tímbrico que naturaliza la ambivalencia acústica y eléctrica del teclado contrastando a la vez una actitud introspectiva y sicodélica que se refuerza melódicamente en las poderosas líneas de bajo y se desplaza suspendida en los detalles aéreos de los platos o se agita por una engranaje percusivo completo y edificante. Su estimulante escucha sugiere, sin evidenciar otra deuda salvo con el presente, una transposición a trío, y a esos dos niveles, de los trabajos de indagación electrónica que Paul Bley publicó en Circles (1971-72) y cuya experiencia daría paso a obras acústicas como Open to Love.

All Music Guide review by Michael G. Nastos

John Hebert Trio – Spiritual Lover (CF 175)Bassist/composer John Hebert’s second date as a leader lives up to its title perfectly, an ethereal set of primarily piano-bass-drums trio music in the modern creative style that is as haunting as it is substantive. Keyboardist Benoit Delbecq weaves magical spells on acoustic piano, synths, and the clavinet, while drummer Gerald Cleaver plays indirect rhythms anchored by supposition rather than straight beats. In the middle is Hebert, solid and unspectacular, bobbing or jabbing as his sidemen create utter mystery. Parsed drama crops up in the title track, during the symmetrical “Amdo,” and on pretty piano pieces moving from peaceful feelings to stair-step spirals. Spooky electronic-flavored space segments and some crazy music dot the landscape, but in the main, this is a set of enjoyable late-night music that is easy to digest and savor.
http://www.allmusic.com/album/spiritual-lover-r1800589

Ted Panken’s (Downbeat, Jazziz) Best of 2010 List

1. Rudresh Mahanthappa & Bunky Green: Apex (Pi)
2. Clayton Brothers: The New Song and Dance (ArtistShare)
3. Geri Allen: Flying Toward the Sound (Motema)
4. Danilo Perez: Providencia (Mack Avenue)
5. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis: Vitoria Suite (Emarcy)
6. Richie Beirach & Dave Liebman: Quest for Freedom (Sunnyside)
7. Regina Carter: Reverse Thread (E1)
8. John Hébert: Spiritual Lover (Clean Feed)
9. Lionel Loueke: Mwaliko (Blue Note)
10. Brad Mehldau: Highway Rider (Nonesuch)

Aidan Levy’s (Village Voice, nytimes.com) Best of 2010 List

1. Rudresh Mahanthappa & Bunky Green: Apex (Pi)
2. Nels Cline Singers: Initiate (Cryptogramophone)
3. Jason Moran: Ten (Blue Note)
4. Vijay Iyer: Solo (ACT)
5. Steve Colson: The Untarnished Dream (Silver Sphinx)
6. Dan Tepfer: Five Pedals Deep (Sunnyside)
7. John Hébert: Spiritual Lover (Clean Feed)8. The Claudia Quintet: Royal Toast (Cuneiform)
9. John Ellis: Puppet Mischief (ObliqSound)
10. Bill Frisell: Beautiful Dreamers (Savoy Jazz)