COMPOSERS: André Hodeir
ALBUM TITLE: Jazz Groupe de Paris
PERFORMER: Jean Liesse, Roger Guérin (t), Nat Peck (tb), Jean Algedon (as), Georges Grenu (ts), Armand Migiani (p), Fats Sadi (vib), Pierre Michelot (b), Christian Garros (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 548 792-2 ADD Reissue (1956)
Anyone who still thinks that modal jazz began with Kind of Blue might like to try the opening piece here, ‘On a Scale’. Hodeir’s work as a jazz critic is much better known than his own-name recordings, which have rarely been reissued.
This excellent revival (first issued on the Véga label in 1956) is more than welcome as, although the Jazz Groupe de Paris was formed in 1954 and lasted for 15 years, it left very few recordings.
Besides characteristic Hodeir essays in counterpoint such as the brilliant ‘Bicinum’ and the beautiful textures of ‘Evanescence’, there are also personal takes on Monk (‘Criss Cross’), Powell (‘Parisian Thoroughfare’), John Lewis (‘Milano’) and Duke Jordan (a fascinating revision of ‘Jordu’).
While Hodeir doesn’t play himself, his fingerprints are all over the cool elegance of the horn parts, and a piece such as ‘Paradoxe 1’, which is almost entirely through-composed, is the product of a very singular voice.
The players rarely make a strong individual impression, but the mentholated feel of the improvising suits the music. This is part of the second batch of Jazz in Paris reissues from the French arm of Universal, and it now stretches to more than 70 titles – a superb initiative. Richard Cook