Top Secret

COMPOSERS: Marc Moulin
LABELS: Blue Note
ALBUM TITLE: Marc Moulin
PERFORMER: Marc Moulin (p, ky, samples), Bert Joris (t), Johan Vandendriessche (ts, d), Paul Flush (org), Philip Catherine (g), Bruno Castellucci (d, samples, perc), Christa (v)
CATALOGUE NO: 5 34129 2

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The great debate in American jazz is whether it is a work in progress or the finished product. Many favour the latter premise, expressing a healthy suspicion of ‘the new’ if it is not rooted in precedent. They talk about ‘the refinement of tradition’, pointing to how jazz in its early years evolved quickly because it was not so universally codified. Now, they say, jazz advances more slowly, with more reliance on codification.

This point of view, because of the UK’s close association with America, has its adherents here. Not so in Europe, where jazz is still seen as a work in progress. There they point out that jazz has continually broadened its expressive resources, pointing to successful fusions in recent times with world music or dance beats. Moulin, a Belgian pianist active in the Seventies who has now returned to the scene, has taken inspiration from Frenchman Ludovic Navarre’s mix of jazz with contemporary rhythms from club culture.

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In the past jazz was always the reality of its time; a Miles Davis, for example, always played the present, which is what Moulin is doing here on a refreshing new album that reflects jazz in the 21st century rather than the 20th. Stuart Nicholson