Friday 09th December

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Brian Charette: Square One

| Music, Venues | 03/09/2014

Brian Charette

I was thrilled to get my hands on Brian Charette’s 2014 CD Square One. Having heard him play in ensemble at Jazz Club Soho earlier this year, he told me that he plays London too infrequently. His new recording is a treat for all Jazzers and a special offering for fans of Jazz organ. It may suffice until he returns to The Smoke.

Aaight is sparse peppering from Charette interspersed with delightful bass bridges. Brian holds it all together then lets it go in his inimitable improvisations. Joe Henderson’s If has a glowing fluidity, threads interweaving, cleverly restrained by the trio including characterful drummer Mark Ferber. Three for Martina pulls everything back with a new softness, flowing smoothly along, each instrumentalist in sympathy with the other.

People on Trains proves a tuneful offering. Spacier sounds seem a favourite of Charette intoning an otherworldly-ness relating to journeying. It’s another terrific piece. True Love is not a cover of the Cole Porter classic but a smooth funk with warm though contemporary sounds. Then why not Ease Back with the dance-iest number yet. Unlike the original Charette compositions this combines several writers belying an exciting and cohesive outcome.

Time Changes is busier but pleasantly so, its jumping organ riff intertwining with the other forces. An earworm sneakily burrowing into your brain, it features a glistening guitar solo from Yotam Silberstein. A Fantasy is smooth and mellow, gorgeous colours shining through, whilst the melodic phrases shared by organ and bassist make for some agreeable conversation. Getting that ‘live’ feel into the studio is no mean feat and the secret of Charette’s success.

Yei Fei drives gently along with an insistent beat that gets toes tapping. And yet… intoxicating too… like much of Charette’s oeuvre it has the power to move in various ways. This is after all music to be listened to not analysed. Such as Things You Don’t Mean – different again, taking the funk up a level, with a fabulous bass intro. This intimate group effortlessly create a full and rich sound, contrasted with effective and pleasing harmonic diversion.

What more could you want? There’s even an eleventh track which I’ll save for purchasers of this commendable collection. Like all great Jazz recordings you can relax to this or involve yourself on a deeper level, it works both ways, the band’s magical musicianship creating some truly sensational tracks.

Let’s hope it won’t be too long before Brian Charette is back for his next London gig!

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