Thursday, December 15, 2011

In review--French Jazz by way of Galicia

Jacques Pellarin Quartet
Sup Dude
Independent release

Accordion is an instrument that gets along well with virtually every genre of music, at least the major genres.  You hear the instrument in bluegrass, Parisian chanson, Italian café music, and world jazz.  French accordionist Jacques Pellarin and his quartet perform music that weds Parisian café with jazz, though this is not Paris Combo.  On the album Sup Dude Pellarin doesn’t include the French gypsy swing element that you would expect from French jazz, but surprises me with a performance style that recalls Galician jazz.   Listen to the intro for the titular track and if you’re familiar with Galician music, you’ll hear those musical strains. I’m reminded of the Spanish band Engado.  So Frenchy sounds Spanish too, leaving me wondering about the ironic title.  In any case, Pellarin’s fingers fly across the keys of his accordion in a way that conjures the image of a global music traveler.

Pellarin’s quartet combines the accordion with Diego Fano's lyrical saxophone, Yann Pajean's kit drums and Renaud Bourquard's crunchy electric guitar (that feels out of place to me at times).  I especially like the passages when the accordion takes flight or joins a conversation with the saxophone, meanwhile Pajean keeps a steady beat going.  Heading back to Spain, Luz y Fuerza spices the recording up with Andalusian and Galician flavors.  The musicians heat up the place with this musical mixture.  And I’m guessing this is a fun quartet to catch live on a sultry night in France, Spain, or anywhere.