Recent listening, current

Friday, January 31, 2014

176. Etienne Charles - Creole Soul (2013)

After the uplifting vocal intro by Haitian singer Erol Josué, Charles immediately shows off his chops with "Creole," incorporating some brassy flourishes and familiar licks that recall the brilliance of  Lee Morgan or Dizzy Gillespie. And Diz is probably a good touchstone for listeners to whom Charles is new. The music on Creole Soul is just as it sounds, and keeps with the trumpeter's eclectic style that freshly approaches the jazz idiom while remaining warmly reverent of his Trinidadian roots. A greater variety of musics and rhythmical structures -- everything from funk, calypso, bomba, and other musics produced by the Black diaspora -- make Creole Soul something of a departure from his previous albums that were more focused. So the album is like a self portrait. These styles are married with deep sentimentality, sleek musicianship, and mature songcraft in compositions like "The Folks," a Charles original, or spicy, fitting covers like Horace Silver's "Doin' the Thing." With its beguiling spirit and inventive performance, Charles and company negate boxy commercial descriptors like "Worldbeat," or "Latin" at every turn. Tenor sax by Jacques Schwarz-Bart and piano by Kris Bowers add exciting texture and kinetic energy to the already exciting proceedings. Highly recommended! 

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