Jean Pierre Como Jazz Trio
Neo G. Mendes
music aficionados and otherwise were given a rare treat of French
jazz recently at the grand finale of French Forum '03 courtesy
Alliance Francaise and France Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce
and Industry. This was a performance of the Jean Pierre Como
Jazz Trio on 13th December 2003 at the Sheraton Winter Garden,
began with a spicy Latinesque piece with interesting polyrhythmic
patterns cleverly getting the audience attracted to the music.
Following the first movements, one could identify the distinct
Chick Corea style in Jean Pierre Como keyboardist par excellence
and composer with his mastery of open and free moving improvisational
notes of multiple colours, speed, emotions and blends. And like
his jazz peers, that Jean Pierre was deeply immersed in his
music and performance. The rich chords and harmonics interwoven
between keyboard and the double bassist young Stephane Kerecki
continued throughout the performance attesting to the maturity,
training and talent of the trio.
piece, a rather pensive composition, with Como in the lead,
was arranged in complex timing beginning as a 4/4 but moving
on to varying ¾, 7/8 and other timings in the 3-4 segments,
making the music sound fresh and interesting. The composition
was based on strong tonic notes--a signature of Como's composition
style hinting his Italian background.
was composed allowing the drummer's virtuosity to shine which
was showcased not only in this piece, but throughout the evening.
Of all the concerts that this reviewer has been to in Dhaka,
this drummer Stephane Huchard is in a class of his own a drummer's
drummer. His exceptional mastery of technique certainly makes
Huchard one of the great drummers of his generation.
the next piece, in the introduction notes, the trio in unison
makes a forceful entry, causing a powerful and stunning musical
effect quickly moving on to the drummer embarking on a 4/4 timed
solo and showing off his skills to his full advantage and to
our great pleasure. During the short solo, the drummer shifts
to several timing changes evolving onto a languid flow, and
then when the keyboardist re-enters, the scene juxtaposes into
forms of music dominated by energetic African influences from
the keyboards and drums. Huchard's effortless and easy drum
style displays a rich mastery of accomplishments and his many
timing changes enhances the colour blends with the tonic keyboard
and rich bass notes. Kerecki belying his apparent youth plays
with great maturity both in the higher and lower registers and
that too with two of France's jazz leaders . Kerecki has some
serious accolades under his belt, that of being awarded the
First Prize of the Conservatorie National Superieur de Musique
de Paris in 2001and the second soloist prize at the International
Jazz Competition of La Defense, France. The speed and flow off
his perfectly pitched rich musical bass notes rounds of the
band's exceptional quality. The brief 4/4 drum solo in an interesting
African rhythm and timing brings the piece to a happy conclusion.
companions, who lived in Algeria for some years, confirm to
me that this composition in certainly nostalgic to them as it
evokes memories of Algeria. The piece is flavoured throughout
in Arabic/African musical notes and timing. The drums open the
piece on a simple nursery rhyme type structure and although
this is essentially a drumís piece, the musicality is never
dry because of the clever keyboard/bass composition in which
African form flares up from the normally quiet background rendering
the piece rich and pleasurable.
piece is reminiscent of Dizzy Gillespie's "Nights in Tunisia"
laid on similarly complex rhythmic patterns followed by several
timing changes and a hearty dose of funk from the keyboards.
The bassist reverbs with very sweet and happy high and deeply
resonant low notes and fun middle register with the shifts and
changes. The tender piano notes and the finesse and perfectly
timed anticipation by the drummer and bassist attests to their
maturity and wealth of talent.
presently performs with the Orchestra de Jazz Europe-Afrique
(OJEA) and several others including leading big jazz bands and
smaller trios and quartets. The following piece opens with a
bass solo by Kerecki which gives him the widest opportunity
till now to display his individual skill and explains somewhat
why he is in such great demand. Kerecki's bass solo, is a composition
in which the keyboard and drums complements while allowing him
to be the lead piece -- a musical challenge -- especially with
a trio combined such. Huchard's accentuation technique on the
snare drum combined with his cymbal mastery is in itself an
accomplishment and a joy to listen, Como's keyboard is blue/dark
intense in the higher notes with a sometimes rock/funk colouration
in the middle and lows, creating an entire musical universe
-- now tense and then tender and sensitive -- concluding with
a bass solo in his favourite high registers and a crescendo
piece "Volare" is an old Italian standard made popular
by Dean Martin among others in the 50's & 60's and now regaining
popularity. Como -- who spent his childhood in Italy -- plays
this piece stylishly, with great warmth and much love and straight
from the heart. The piece is made even more romantic with the
lovely bass notes of Kerecki, simulating the lead while the
keyboards in organ mode, luxuriously glides through concluding
in a sweet melodic ending.
piece opened on a "rondo" musical formation with a
festive circus style grinding organ and bass creating an atmosphere
for Huchard to provide his most elaborate drum solo full of
snare bullets and ruck work. Huchard's easy use of rock/funk/African/
oriental styles and idioms makes this jazz more interesting
and listenable to our ears as compared to pure western jazz
because we could recognise the note patterns from our own music.
For this and more Huchard has been awarded a "Django d"Or"
for his album "Tribal Traquenard" (Blue Note 1999).
The fast flowing organ notes complements the swing and bullets
of the drums and the quick finger work of the bassist both of
whom display outstanding mastery on this tune transporting the
listener to the Italian shores of the Mediterranean.
rounded off with an impromptu set by the trio for those who
cared to stay after a lovely French dinner.