Michel El Malem – Dedications
1 CD lnner Circle Music/ The Other Distribution
NEW Revealed with the aptly named “First Step” in 2009 by the pioneering label Fresh Sound New Talent, this saxophonist returns with six new original compositions that reflect great elegance.
First, there is this quintet, in which the music flows with a rare fluidity: alongside the leader’s saxophone, Romain Pilon’s guitar, Marc Copland’s piano, Stéphane Kerecki’s double bass and Luc Isenmann’s drums form an ensemble that gives the impression of having been around for a long time. Apart from the excellence of the soloists, we owe this fruitful complicity to the singing qualities of the themes of Michel El Malem, who, as a tenor as well as a soprano (the boss of his label, Greg Osby, is right to stress that he distinguishes himself as much on both instruments) projects something strong: the idea that a finely chiselled melody has the power to guide us through the meanders of an improvisation, his own as well as those of his accompanists.
We find in ” Dedications ” (” Dedications ” to Dave Liebman, Marc Copland, and even his little black cat…) everything we liked in the acoustic jazz of the end of the 20th century (the 1980s, 1990s…), this constant concern to never lead the listener astray, to keep him quietly alert through the beauty of the sound, the choice of colour, the order (very cleverly thought out) of the pieces. What we also like is, therefore, the right balance between the musicians who inhabit this record, which is not only that of a saxophonist but, once again, that of a real band. This will not prevent us from underlining the perfection of Romain Pilon’s solos, the luminous sound of Marc Copland or the woody bass of Stéphane Kerecki. Superb, really superb.
Michel El Malem (ts, ss), Romain Pilon (elg), Marc Copland (p), Stéphane Kereckl (b), Luc lsenmann (dm). Pernes-Les-Fontaines, Studio La Buissonne, 3 and 4 October 2019.
Source: JAZZ MAGAZINE, N°735, MARCH 2021