Saturday 19 September 2020

'Attraction' by Sébastien Jarrousse Quartet

'Attraction' is the new album from French saxophonist, Sébastien Jarrousse, whose stunning new release is unveiled courtesy of Italy's A.MA Records.

Whenever we have the fortune of spending time with a new album from the A.MA catalogue, it always feels somewhat remiss to not say a few words about the label's overall excellence.  While we've celebrated recent releases from Gianluca Vigliar, Andrea Gomellini and Sanja Markovic, the past few months have also afforded us the opportunity to dig deeper within A.MA's releases, exploring past projects from The Motion Collective ('Unstuck in Time', 2015), Francesca Sortino ('Be Free', 2017), Foglianese ('Subconscious Jazz', 2018) and Sébastien Jarrousse.

With his debut album from A.MA Records released in 2019, 'New Frequency' was Jarrousse's introduction to the A.MA audience which delivered a wonderful set bolstered by the superb tentet that backed him for the album.  Tracks like 'Tribute to Radio Head', 'Cuban Native' and the album's epic centrepiece 'Camelot Project' resulted in a wonderful showcase for Jarrousse and the album's lead vocalist Ellinoa (Camille Durand).

Born in Brittany, France, Sébastien Jarrousse can boast an incredibly dynamic career that has seen his talents celebrated through a variety of international awards and accolades, grace stages the world over and contribute to numerous projects including music by Cécile Verny, the Franco-German Tentet, Olivier Robin, as well as play band leader for an extensive array of his own ensembles.  It should come as no surprise then that in just the following year, Jarrousse follows up 'New Frequency' with a new project backed by an all new line-up no less.  

For 'Attraction', Jarrousse's quartet is comprised of the indelible talents of pianist Pierre-Alain Goualch, drummer Antoine Banville and double bassist Mauro Gargano.  With slightly less of a central role than afforded to her in 'New Frequency', Ellinoa's exquisite vocal still excels in elevating the music throughout.  While her contributions on 'Bonhomme De Chemin' and 'Ballade Pour Daphne' are clear album standouts, Ellinoa finds innovative new ways to interact with the compositions managing to beautifully intertwine her wordless vocals with the musicians around her.  

The collective here - which includes featured guests Sebastien Llado (trombone) and Gaetano Partipilo (saxophone) - takes great pride in their presentation of versatile and eclectic contemporary jazz.  While not as eclectic as its predecessor in terms of its joyous fusion of different genres and styles, 'Attraction' is something of a return to a more traditional jazz aesthetic and serves as another demonstration of Sébastien Jarrousse's skill - not just as a revered saxophonist - but also as a producer who relishes the challenge of reinventing himself.  With 'Attraction', Jarrousse continues masterfully building towards a fantastic musical legacy with a fantastic new album. 

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