Exposé Online banner

Jean-Luc Payssan — Pierrots & Arlequins
(Musea FGBG 4627.AR, 2006, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2007-03-01

Pierrots & Arlequins Cover art

Jean-Luc Payssan is a familiar name to progressive rock fans as guitarist and founding member (along with brother and keyboard player Thierry) of French progressive rock outfit Minimum Vital. With MV, Payssan has focused primarily on electric guitar with the emphasis on rock but also displaying an ability to delve into jazzier playing at times. He’s always proved himself a fine player in these realms, though for many of the group’s admirers it was his acoustic playing pulled from classical and medieval sources that set him apart from his many peers, much in the same way that Steve Howe and Steve Hackett used their acoustic guitar talents to bring their music added depth and complexity. Payssan’s acoustic side was more deeply explored on the Vital Duo release Ex Tempore (2001) where he and brother Thierry focused almost entirely on classical and medieval material. For his first solo outing Payssan has chosen to repeat this approach, though with predictably stronger focus on the guitar. Most of these 14 superb tracks are instrumental and almost all use classical acoustic instruments as the root instrumental voice, though for variety Payssan pulls in ancient instruments such as the cittern, theorbo and mandola. Vocals — where they appear — are supplied by Payssan as well as MV compatriot Sonia Nedelec with results that echo MV albums La Source and Serebandes with winning results. This is a sublime collection that rewards repeated listening. It will definitely please fans of Payssan’s prior work and is highly recommended to the uninitiated.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Jean-Luc Payssan

Latest news

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Brimstone Solar Radiation Band - Smorgasbord – Apparently this is the third recording by this excellent Norwegian quintet, although they are new to me. Where have I been? Like their countrymen Motorpsycho and The Last James / Haakon Ellingsen,...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues