Tiny Reviews: Pierre Perchaud, Billy Martin’s Wicked Knee, & Chris Massey

Friday Tiny Reviews!

Featuring:  Pierre Perchaud Waterfalls, Billy Martin’s Wicked Knee Heels Over Head, and Chris Massey & The NJP Whosoever.



Pierre Perchaud – Waterfalls

Pierre Perchaud - "Waterfalls"Pierre Perchaud has been lending his guitar to a number of fine projects lately, notably, recent albums by Anne Paceo and Olivier Boge.  Now, leading his own trio on Waterfalls, Perchaud displays a different facet of his vision.  This is an album of languid melodies and a cadence that would be content sitting on the beach all day watching waves crash the shore.  Even when the trio raise their voice up a notch, it only creates small ripples in the tranquil surface of the album.

Your album personnel:  Pierre Perchaud (guitar), Chris Cheek (tenor sax), and Nicolas Moreaux (bass).

Most tracks adopt a casual stroll, each note falling nicely into place after the other.  But some tracks, like album opener “Kora,” squirm and dart about, creating an odd kinetic energy.  And “Le Vieux Piano et la Lampe” adopts a brisk pace, but even here, this remains quiet music for quiet rooms.  The title-track is about as close as it gets to a roar, as Perchaud brings some heat to the affair.  But, ultimately, it’s tracks like “Le Paradisier” and “Un Apres Midi” that reflect this recording’s true disposition… peacefulness, expressed with patience and care.

Released on the Gemini Records label.

Available at eMusic.  Available at Amazon: MP3


Billy Martin’s Wicked Knee – Heels Over Head

Billy Martins Wicked Knee - "Heels Over Head"Though many are more likely to know from the trio of Martin, Medeski, & Wood, his quartet Billy Martin’s Wicked Knee may be the real gem in his basket of music projects.  Surrounding himself with a trio of brass, Martin lets loose one euphoric track after the other.  This is music for raising beer glasses to, shouting away the blues, and celebrating any damn thing that comes to mind.

Your album personnel:  Billy Martin (drums), Curtis Fowlkes (trombone), Steve Bernstein (trumpet & slide trumpet), Marcus Rojas (tuba), and a guest vocal by Shelly Hirsch.

While most tracks, like album opener “Ghumba Zumba,” burn with an energy that could pair with both dancing and fighting, even tunes that shades with somber colors, like “Theme One,” do nothing to drown out the party atmosphere vibe of Heels Over Head.  “Button to Button” is the perfect case in point… a tune that incites motion, whether it be a simple bob of the head or tap of the foot, or the inspiration to get up and just move.  Even a track like “Mbwemofolo,” which pushes out rhythms like tiny eddies and whirlpools, still inspires a will to motion.

An album that hides its intelligence behind a wide smile.  Outstanding.

Released on the Amulet Records label.

Available at eMusic.  Available at Amazon: CD | MP3 | Vinyl


Chris Massey & the NJP – Whosoever

Chris Massey - "Whosoever"An intriguing new release from drummer Chris Massey & The NGPWhosoever presents faces that reflect the Hard Bop past and the Post Bop present, from which Massey lets the notes bounce between the two at will.  Old compositions presented with a new voice and new compositions presented with an old voice, and bound up in a nifty cohesive package.

Your album personnel:  Chris Massey (drums), Adam Larson (tenor & soprano sax), Benny Benack III (trumpet), Willerm Delisfort (piano), and Chris Talio (bass).

For instance, opening track “Whosoever” brings a traditional voice to the music, but then Massey slips into an outstanding rendition of Jon Cowherd’s “Crooked Creek,” a modern composition given fame by its inclusion on Brian Blade Fellowship’s Perceptual.  Adding to the intrigue is the following track, a rendition of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” which takes an old classic and gives it a modern voice with sharp angles and quirky rhythms.

Most tracks adopt a decent gallop, but it’s when Massey’s quintet decelerates that the heart of the music shines through.  The aforementioned “Cripple Creek” and his own composition “Warriors Three” allows the musicians to stretch their limbs at an unhurried pace, and really let the music breathe.  But, then again, on a track like album-finale “Pedal Up,” the quintet tears it up on the Rahsaan Roland Kirk composition, and the enthusiasm is both apparent and catchy as hell.

Just a solid little album.

The album is Self-Produced, released on Massey’s Power Cosmic Records.

Available at eMusic.  Available at Amazon: CD | MP3