CD Ilium [Pierre De Bethmann] (CD 1197513), Audio Other
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Ilium [Pierre De Bethmann]

  • 1. Volseau
    2. K.I.S.S.
    3. Ingrences
    4. Solune
    5. Steady
    6. Lenteur, La
    7. Dia
    8. Sisyphe-1
    9. Sisyphe-2
    10. Ruptures
    11. Ilium
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 032

  • Credits
    ProducerPierre De Bethmann
    EngineerPhilippe Gaillot

    Personnel: Pierre De Bethmann (Fender Rhodes piano); Michael Felberbaum (guitar); David El Malek (tenor saxophone); Franck Agulhon (drums).
    Recording information: Studio Recall 30 (04/2002).
    Photographer: Pascal Milette.
    Pierre De Bethmann is known for his work as the pianist for the Moutin Reunion Quartet. On this, his debut recording as a leader, he plays the Fender Rhodes exclusively. The music is laced with challenging meters and time signatures, on occasion juxtaposed, sometimes fiercely complicated but always listenable. Tenor saxophonist David El Malek, in the vein of Michael Brecker, Bob Berg or Bob Mintzer, tackles the changes and rhythms with apparent ease. Drummer Franck Agulhon propels the band with similar nonchalance, but this music is fun, and far from lazy. The introductory track "Volseau" gets the ball rolling in its ability to immediately impress, but by the third cut, "Ingerences," you are hooked. It has the most depth and substance, swapping phrases between 9/8 and 7/8 time, sounding like a descending cruise through a sunny flat stage on the Tour de France. "Steady" is the most consistent swinger, "Ruptures" the hardest bopper, while "K.I.S.S." takes a more overtly funky approach. The music recalls the neo-bop New York sound of the Brecker Brothers or Don Grolnick's music of the '80s, with a touch of '70s fusion. One has to remind oneself that these cats are Europeans. The lower-key shimmering pieces are certainly atmospheric, but not as effective. With so few Fender Rhodes players on the contemporary jazz scene, it's refreshing to hear the instrument played with such verve and virtuosity. De Bethmann is a fine player, there's no doubt. Ilium is easily recommended, rewarding upon repeat listenings, and bodes well for the future of a musician who hopefully will play great jazz piano in the future, but should never abandon his electric instrument. ~ Michael G. Nastos

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