Nov 26 2016
There are strong melodies here. When first given voice, the melody is like moonlight filling up a darkened room. And when Laurent Rochelle Okidoki Quartet nurtures those melodies, their vibrancy is often jaw-dropping in their beauty. But over time, it becomes increasingly evident that it’s more than just expert melodic craftsmanship at play here. Much more. Si tu regardes is about motion. It’s about the motion within the motion, and it’s about how those motions give new shape and new meaning to those melodies, and it’s why they’re able to make jaws drop as easily as generate curiosity to explore them further.
Opening track “Morgen” has a prowling cadence counterbalanced by a fluttering melody, whereas “Synchronicity” marries a punchy tempo and cyclic melody, as if a whirlpool were carried away by a stiff breeze. And then there’s “Echo Bird, Sing a Song to Me” and how one voice makes tight curls in the long strands of melody. It’s a similar effect but an entirely separate approach in how soprano sax keeps its calm on title-track “Si tu regardes” even when drums suddenly floor the gas pedal. It’s the fluid grace of fish darting below the surface of a raging stream and the sense of freedom they inspire when allowing the tides to simply carry them away.
At first blush, this is a beautiful album with an eccentric personality. Time reveals the sharp intelligence and substantive depth that lifts that beauty to an entirely new plateau.
Your album personnel: Laurent Rochelle (bass clarinet, soprano sax), Anja Kowalski (vocals), Frédéric Schadoroff (piano, effects), Olivier Brousse (double bass) and Eric Boccalini (drums).
Released on Linoleum Records.
Listen to more of the album at the artist’s Bandcamp page.
Jazz from the Toulouse, France scene.