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Michel Zenino — Dérive Gauche
(Ex-tension EX01, 2002, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2004-04-01

Dérive Gauche Cover artZenino is a double-bassist, bandleader and arranger, working through a set of French “chanson” pieces arranged for an instrumental jazz quartet (bass, drums, piano and sax). His credentials include stints with Simon Goubert and Christian Vander in Welcome, and more recently with the Sophia Domancich trio, and many others dating back to the early 1980s. One not intimately familiar with the source material (and one is likely not to be unless you are from France and familiar with the chanson pop tradition) may well just accept this jazz workout exclusively at face value, at which level it still remains quite satisfying. Zenino’s arrangements incorporate a brisk energy and spirited expressionism, which draws influence from John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and others. Sax player André Villéger carries most of the lead melodic parts, while the busy rhythm section works with the piano to build strong passages set for tension and release; and of course, with Zenino at the helm there are plenty of great bottom-end solos as well, although probably no more so than in any other jazz quartet. All taken, this is an excellent workout based on solid musicianship and Zenino’s superb arranging skills.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 29, 2002 releases

Related artist(s): Michel Zenino

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