Best of 2016 #6: Laurent Rochelle Okidoki Quartet – “Si tu regardes” (Linoleum Records)


The strange and beautiful lyricism of multi-instrumentalist Laurent Rochelle has a potent charisma.  His talents at shaping melodies and setting them in motion posses a particular allure, magnetic even, and the resulting music would be described as dreamlike were it not for the crispness of the imagery.  On this excellent session, Rochelle spends most of the time on bass clarinet, which in itself is a hell of treat.  His expressions have a keen precision and provide a lovely counterbalance to the instrument’s soulful drawl.  Joined by the Okidoki Quartet, they serve up a modern European-style jazz that Rochelle immediately begins to transform into something less swinging and more story-like.  All of the albums that earn a slot in the Top Ten of any year’s Best Of list are going to be bursting with personality… Rochelle’s Si tu regardes is no different.  What is notable, however, is just how distinctly he draws it out and how clearly he expresses it.  As much as this album plays out like an epic tale, the clarity with which it’s delivered brings into focus its base elements, and leads to a greater appreciation of just how strange and beautiful the album truly is.

Jazz from the Toulouse, France scene.

Read more about the album on Bird is the Worm (LINK).