Recommended: Olivier Boge – “Expanded Places”


olivier boge expanded placesThe dreamy lyricism of saxophonist Olivier Bogé typically gets told with the comforting allure of bedtime stories.  Though, like any good story told on the borders of sleep, it possesses qualities that aren’t always conducive to sweet dreams:  Bits of edginess to give intoxicating melodies a little bite, rhythmic surges that threaten to wash lush harmonies out of the picture and sudden shifts in emotional tone that sweep the floor right out from under.  Both 2012’s Imaginary Traveler and 2013’s The World Begins Today worked those qualities to great effect, and, undeservedly, both recordings flew under the radar.  Bogé’s newest album, Expanded Places, is a fuller, more confident vision of what has come previously, and it’s not nearly as likely to pass people by this time around.

Representative of the album is “Icarus’ Dream” and how it rolls out a thick melody and then just keeps wrapping it around the shape of the song.  And even as the harmonies rise and the percussion becomes more pronounced, the effect is one of genial beauty and gentle light.  Opening track “Red Petals Disorder” charts a similar course, but hangs its hat, instead, on the harmonic qualities.

“The Fairy & the Beard Man” and title-track “Expanded Places” have Bogé switching over to, respectively, acoustic guitar and piano, and the change in instrumentation, if anything, leads to imagery even more vivid than that which preceded it.  The addition of a cellist on “Sound of the Endless River” has the same effect on a song with a more conventional structure.

“What People Say” and “Wings of Desire” are nice examples of how Bogé and crew are able to instill a heavy moodiness upon a tune without bogging it down in somber introspection.  It’s an approach that led to seriously addictive effects on bassist Nicolas Moreaux‘s excellent 2013 recording Fall Somewhere… on which both Bogé and drummer Karl Jannuska also contributed to.  With Expanded Places, it’s a formula they continue to mine for sonic diamonds like these.

Just a gorgeous album.

Your album personnel:  Olivier Bogé (alto sax, piano, guitars, Fender Rhodes, vocals), Nicolas Moreaux (bass), Karl Jannuska (drums) and guests:  Manon Ponsot (cello) and Guillaume Bégni (French horn).

Released on Naive Records.

Jazz from the Paris scene.

Available at:  eMusic | Amazon