Belle Epoque, project involving two of the most promising young French musicians is a part of the Duo Art series which Act Music started to launch just this year. It is a 7th volume already if I got it right, which shows a great effort and adorable consequence, especially worth raving as the music published under this brand is really outstanding.
Emile Parisien represents an exclusive club of soprano soloist which just a few joined in. From Bechet ,through Garbarek to Steve Lacy and Dave Liebman. One cannot forget the Trane who bought it back to life.
Vincent Peirani is equally congenial counterpart as it comes to accordion. He is considered to be the one who completely revolutionised the way of playing it and expanded the borders for expression possibilities available. Something like that, in France when accordion remains one of the few national instruments, being always present in nation’s culture is an exquisite achievement alone. Think Edith Piaf, Parisian Caffe like music always present on the streets, then Galliano , Matinier, Berthoumieux and finally Peirani. That is a big rat run, just be aware of that. I am listening to a lot of accordion /bandoneon recordings from all over the world and I can tell you that straight on: He is the One off.
Recording contains 5 jazz standards and 4 originals, two from each. Starting from Bechet’s Egyptian Fantasy shows already that those two can see the world in their own way. With full respect for the classic, they managed to prevent the beauty of the tune and develop completely new aesthetic to this. Amount of nostalgia together with subversive sense of humour this dialogue is handled appears like a brand new piece with just a trace of reminiscences that few elders might still remember. The beauty of the tone is just overwhelming and makes you want to dance.
Lodge’s Temptation Rag can be actually called forgotten given the fact how popular it used to be in its best days. From vaudeville, old fashioned piece they turned it into a beauty and vivid melody that one can swear heard it before around many times. But it is just an illusion coming from this amazing ability to drag out the core of the song and give it a new spin.
Same can be said about another Bechet’s classic Song of Medina. Again they prevented beauty tissue of Arabian scales which makes this piece so floating and gave it make over which matches dynamic of today’s modern life on French streets. Made right now by completely different society cross section. It again proofs an amazing talent for observing a life as it goes and adopting new movements into existing structures and enrich an existing language, which both of them shares.
Same can be said about Duke’s Dancer’s in Love which kept its natural charm and listening to it one can easily remind himself the original tune. But the best to me is when it comes to originals.
Speaking his own voice shows really what your spirit is like. Parisiens’ Hysm with a gentle opening makes you think if that is still accordion or some magic music box played by your own guide angel somewhere in the shadow of the foggy morning. With an angelic sound of his soprano this piece sounds almost like a liturgy in a church, with accordion fingering sounding like a baroque fugue.
Periani’s Schubertauster on contrary is the music with complete different sense of space and the sonic structures building up high by his partners voice on the solid foundation he delivered.
This recording is nothing less than the box of chocolates with an exquisite taste.