An excellent new release from pianist Marianne Trudel. La vie commence ici comes off as being very centered. There’s a calm to the music even when things get a bit heated. Soloists are provided optimal conditions to express their thoughts, and the way in which their solos, more often than not, build on the group vision rather than focus on just their own individual perspective is the element that provides the album its sense of flawless completion. It’s one of those albums that resonates strongly by keeping things simple and honing its focus.
The benefits of trumpeter Ingrid Jensen’s contribution can’t be overstated. On an album that radiates strength from a tightly bundled core, Jensen provides a necessary touch of a Big Sound on many of her solos. Jensen immediately takes to soaring on Soon, the powerful flap of wings a show of force on an album that has an abundance of elegance. That said, Jensen’s trumpet work is in no way detached from the ensemble’s predominant behavior. Deux soleils sees pianist Trudel and bassist Moore skipping along the surface of the tempo’s stream, and Jensen’s playful accompaniment fills right into the confluence of the ensemble’s direction.
Of particular beauty on this recording is the way in which Jensen and saxophonist Stewart add harmonic passages to a strong melodic thrust. It adds a casual ease to moments when a tune is charging straight ahead. There’s also the intrigue from their cryptic conversations added to the brooding intensity of title-track La vie commence ici.
The way in which Urge opens with murmurs and sighs before hitting the gas pedal is particularly enjoyable, especially in how Trudel and drummer Kuster bounce rhythmic ideas off one another as they fly down the road together, side by side. It’s a similar pattern to Le vent est une chance, which also adopts melancholy tones and stately motion as a precursor to a display of feverish volatility, and is in possession of an arresting lyricism at either speed.
The album ends with Choral, reflecting the unassuming beauty and sharp focus that typifies this wonderful album.
Your album personnel: Marianne Trudel (piano), Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), Jonathan Stewart (tenor & soprano saxes), Morgan Moore (bass) and Robbie Kuster (drums).
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