Jan 9 2014
On his debut album Imaginary Traveler, saxophonist Olivier Bogé deftly managed to fuse languid melodies and chipper rhythms into a cross-pollination of up-tempo sleepy tunes. On his sophomore release The World Begins Today, he polishes that formula to great effect.
Strong melodies dance on the surface of chattering rhythms, insinuating a motion not unlike dance, all the while just motoring along. The melodies, however, are able to drift serenely across their surface, providing a dreamy presence to speedy music.
The result is some terrifically gorgeous music.
Your album personnel: Olivier Bogé (alto sax), Tigran Hamasyan (piano), Sam Minaie (bass), and Jeff Ballard (drums).
Probably worth noting at this point that Boge’s alto sax contributed that same potent mix on Nicolas Moreaux‘s Fall Somewhere, an album with a similar disposition, and which recently was named the #5 album of the year on the Bird is the Worm Best of 2013 list.
Jeff Ballard and Tiger Hamasyan kick the album’s kinetic energy into motion right from the start. On album-opener “Poem,” they dart about one another like fireflies on a lazy Summer evening.
Bogé displays his ability to draw out a melody’s beauty on “Rising Lights,” developing it, reshaping it, revealing something new about that melody with each pass while never letting it become unrecognizable from that which it began.
“Be Kind” features some nice teamwork in showing how shifting tempos can re-frame the way in which the melody is viewed. Same with “Dance of the Flying Balloons,” which twists like smoke in a still room. Tiny gusts of tempo shape the melody, bend it, send it floating away before coaxing it back in the direction from whence it came.
“Little Marie T.” features Hamasyan cutting a melodic path on piano, constantly moving forward, developing vertically, and though he proceeds with a determined gait, his contribution is still a little bit breathless in its beauty.
“Relieved” features Ballard’s tiny explosions on drums, and even Bogé’s strong expressiveness on sax isn’t enough to eclipse Ballard’s intensity.
“Inner Chant” brings some spiritual jazz to the table. A haunting melody soulfully cries out, and a cauldron of activity bubbles up from the rhythm section. Ballard’s drums are the more noticeable, but Minaie’s bass possesses the essential resonance.
The title-track “The World Begins Today” sees the quartet building intensity until the sound is Big, and that sense of an ambling peacefulness is a distant memory. It’s one of the rare instances where that occurs, and it accentuates the peculiar serenity that abides on this lovely album.
Released on Naive Records.
Jazz from the La Garenne Colombes, France scene.
Available at: eMusic | Directly from Naive Records
And here’s a LINK to my review of Boge’s debut album Imaginary Traveler. Worth noting that Nicolas Moreaux (and Pierre Perchaud, another related musician) contribute to the recording.