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Portal, Michel: Radar

Continuing with issue number 7 in the Jazz Legend Series, we have French born multi-instrumentalist Michel Portal being honored, another prime architect of European modern jazz. The album is titled Radar and was recorded live at the Theater Gütersloh in Germany. The jazz/classicalist is probably most famous for his numerous film scores.

The disc begins with the three part "Esquisse" that has Portal's bass clarinet playing alongside American pianist Richie Beirach for the first time. The three pieces are broken up with applause but they are certainly interconnected. The musicians show their improvising skills as the music ebbs and flows in a dynamic and interesting way. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow with the tone varying from dreamy ethereal moodiness to faster rollicking sections. At times the melodic piano lines are interrupted with Portal's improvised bursts of bass clarinet. These three songs clearly define the greatness of both players. The next two pieces has Portal teaming up with the WDR Big Band. Here the mood is much more upbeat as bass trombone, soprano saxophone and trumpet add to the more vibrant rhythms. It is a nice contrast to the first three songs. As with all discs in the series the concert ends with an interview which is unfortunately in French so I cannot comment on its content.

Aside from the interview, the music is far reaching modern jazz that should appeal to fans of introspective/improvised jazz and big band styles. Check out the Challenge Records International website for more information.

Track Listing:
1. Esquisse Part 1 (11:11)
2. Esquisse Part 2 (7:23)
3. Esquisse Part 3 (3:21)
4. Bailador (9:05)
5. Dolce (6:15)
6. Interview with Michel Portal (by Götz Bühler) (19:52)

Added: March 30th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Challenge Records
Hits: 1290
Language: english

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