Friday 10 May 2024

'Monsieur MÂLÂ' by Monsieur MÂLÂ

With two EPs under their belt already, the Parisian quintet Monsieur MÂLÂ release their debut full-length project serving as another testament to their continuing adventures in contemporary jazz.

Projects by Monsieur MÂLÂ have consistently been warmly received since their debut single 'Misemo' was unveiled to the world in 2020.  A bold statement of intent right at the outset as the band not only sought to convey their affections for embracing the here & now without fear of insecurities or self-doubt, but also sought to musically express their penchant for an all-inclusive and genre fluid aesthetic that would defy musical boundaries.

At a little under four minutes, 'Misemo' had delivered its message which was subsequently embraced and went on to set the standard for Monsieur MÂLÂ going forward.

Comprised of Swaéli Mbappé on bass, Yoann Danier on drums, Nicholas Vella on keys, Balthazar Naturel on saxophone and Robin Antunes on violin and mandolin, Monsieur MÂLÂ features dynamic and versatile musicians with an impressive roll call of past collaborators including China Moses, Mayra Andrade and Ibrahim Maalouf to name a few.

Through the release of EPs 'EP-001-MM' (2021) and 'EP-002-MM' (2022) and now to the release of their self-titled debut album, Monsieur MÂLÂ's music continued to cultivate their thrilling interpretation of contemporary jazz as a genre that thrived equally by relying on influences from neo-soul to pop and hip-hop.

The album's opening number, 'Storyteller', provides fascinating context to much of the band's inspirations and motivations.  Over the course of the track's seven minutes, the spoken word portions of the song almost seek to reintroduce Monsieur MÂLÂ, much in the way that 'Misemo' sought to do four years ago, issuing a new mission statement for this stage of their career...

"I am one body with many voices... My name is Monsieur MÂLÂ, I am a storyteller."

'al Fayhaa' explores more Middle Eastern inspirations in explosive style while tracks like 'Fly Fly' and 'Carnaval' continue to capture the quintet's unbridled energy through imaginative performances and composition.  'Ai De Mim', featuring a sublime vocal from EU. CLIDES, demonstrates the band's more restrained and understated performance that continue to showcase MÂLÂ's multi-faceted approach to their music.

The album delivers as an excellent (re)introduction to Monsieur MÂLÂ and continues to demonstrate their unlimited potential.

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