As an extra-added bonus, and as a sort of companion to the Coleman Hawkins Munich concert from 1950, The Amazing Keystone Big Band, live in concert just yesterday from Paris, recorded live from the stage at the legendary Salle Pleyel and presented as a kind of release party for their latest album Django Extended and also as a remembrance of violinist Didier Lockwood, who passed away only a few days earlier.
If anything, it gives every indication that Jazz is alive and well and kicking up a storm, and its probably more popular and revered in Europe than it is in the U.S. at the moment. French Jazz has always been just a little different than in other parts of the world, going back to the early part of the last century, and it’s never really gone away.
Here’s the rundown on the group via their website (gist translation, so . . .):
“Created six years ago, the bubbling Amazing Keystone Big Band expresses both the spirit, the soul of the great formations of the swing-king era, and the inventiveness, openness, insolent virtuosity of the today’s jazz.
Accomplices from the Conservatory, pianist Fred Nardin, saxophonist Jon Boutellier, trombonist Bastien Ballaz and trumpet player David Enhco provide direction and arrangements for the orchestra.
The 17 cadors who pianffe behind the desks of this turbulent jazz machine are not content to make allegiance, class, to Count Basie, Duke Ellington or Thad Jones. They especially consider that this orchestra of friends handpicked allows them to experiment with new ideas, while revisiting the pearls of an unsinkable repertoire.
The Amazing Keystone Big Band perpetuates this wave music while giving free rein to the creativity of its musicians, their arrangements, compositions, and solos.
On trumpets: Vincent Labarre, Thierry Seneau, Félicien Bouchot and David Enhco.
With trombones: Benoit Aloïs, Loïc Bachevillier, Sylvain Thomas and Bastien Ballaz
On the saxophones: Pierre Desassis, Kenny Jeanney, Eric Prost, Jon Boutellier and Ghyslain Regard.
Rhythmic side: Thibaut François (guitar), Fred Nardin (piano), Patrick Maradan (double bass), and Romain Sarron (drums).
Since 2010, the Orchestra has had the opportunity to collaborate and write music for internationally renowned artists such as Quincy Jones, James Carter, Rhoda Scott, Stochelo Rosenberg, Liz McComb, Michel Hausser, Bill Mobley, Cécile McLorin Salvant, ZAZ, etc.”
I was struck by how fresh this band sounded, that this is going on in 2018 is pretty incredible – there are certainly solid foundations and the presence of the vibe of Gil Evans as well as occasional collaborator Quincy Jones is unmistakable. But those are stepping off places. This is something new with its own distinctive point of view. And it’s refreshing. And what’s better- it’s broadcast live.
Check it out.