“There is in this second album of the saxophonist Michel El Malem (the previous one had been published on the label Fresh Sound New talent) a much more collective adventure than in the first one.
Just as in the previous album it was an encounter with a musician who expressed something very personal, like a presentation of himself to the public, in this album it is a musical encounter with a top level group and above all an encounter with an exceptional pianist, Marc Copland, whose world is very different from that of the saxophonist. And yet it is on the path of themes with warm harmonies that they meet with a certain obviousness.
There is, in this mastered universe, the alliance of the softness of groove and a modal jazz under control. And it turns out tremendously well, especially because each member of the band asserts a real strong musical personality, while managing to blend in with the whole. The compositions are superb. They are sometimes a little melancholic, but always without pathos just with the outpouring of strong feelings. A kind of touching tenderness that the resonances of Marc Copland’s keyboard highlight with a certain depth.
Each of the pianist’s interventions is magnificent, making the low medium of his keyboard sound or seeking harmonic inversions and chords of infinite richness (to be heard on Reflets). Michel El Malem continues to assert himself in this line of saxophonists in a very Breckerian lineage.
A powerful saxophonist and formidable improviser who manages to avoid all overwhelming effects and instead masters his lyricism with a striking evocative force. There is in his playing the strength of Brecker (as we have said) but also the fluidity of a Shorter. And a magnificent sound chiselled into the rock.
Michael Felberbaum is a kind of chameleon printing by the diversity of his play as many different colours, looking for the oppositions to the central colour to better bring it out by contrast (the window). And then this rhythm, here perfect in the intelligence of what she has to play. An asserted rhythm whose presence is of great cohesion. Marc Buronfosse, here immense, confirms what we have been writing for a long time: he is indeed one of our greatest double bass players, essential and indispensable. His association with Luc Isenmann is luminous and contributes greatly to the success of this album. A soothing interlude, this magnificent album is imbued with great serenity. It is one of those albums which we can hope to see widely distributed. It deserves it.”
Source: Les dernières nouvelles du jazz – Septembre 2011