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Chaumont, Jean: The Beauty Of Differences

On the back of the booklet in The Beauty Of Differences, there’s a quote by Jean Vanier, “In our society, we all need to prove that we’re normal, that we’re like everyone else. So we deny our own heart, which is unique”, and it is in that spirit that the French guitarist Jean Chaumont, who now resides in New Jersey, approaches his debut album. Filled with poised and relaxed jazz themes, amongst other wider ideas, as first efforts go, what Chaumont has created here has been turning heads all across the jazz-sphere, an honesty on show that you don’t often encounter in any genre. Nothing on this album is forced, nothing feels fancy and nothing looks to razzle dazzle. And yet, the impact is immediate and long lasting, with crafted atmospheres digging in deep from the off and never once letting go.

Surrounding himself with a core band of Michael Bond on piano and rhodes, Ike Sturm on upright bass, Rudy Royston on drums and Sam Sadigursky on tenor and soprano sax, the quintet lock in tight with the most unimaginable looseness you’ll find. It’s a rare occurrence for music this carefully placed to feel so flowing, so relaxed and so natural, but float on by with the sax solo on this album’s title piece and you’ll see exactly what I mean. The vocal earlier in the track from Vinod Gnanaraj shows the breadth of ground we’re covering, but, yet again, the rhythm of the piece surges as though nurtured and grown for years and years. Only two other of the nine pieces contain vocals, Tierney Sutton smooth and beguiling on the mainly acoustic meander of “Prayer For Creation”, while her backing accompaniment on “Renewed Perspective” helps open proceedings in enigmatic style.

Elsewhere “Audrey’s Code” allows Sadigursky to break free and hit hard with a sax workout, while “PPCB” is a little more traditional in its energetic swing and pulse. With “Delaware And Raritan” a slow winding piece where Royston is given room to exercise his obvious skill behind the kit, it’s left to “Marathon Of Love” to close in grandiose, near jazz meets classical meets (dare I say it) Elton John fashion (just listen to that piano from Michael Bond); the central theme of the album brought home in no undoubted manner. With each purchase of The Beauty Of Differences providing clean water for one person’s entire life in the Sakata region of Malawi, the celebration of togetherness, understanding and love that so clearly comes through here, isn’t only found in this album’s soul, but also that of those creating it. In the end however, it’s the music that makes this a compelling, captivating experience.

Track Listing
1. Renewed Perspective (Feat. Tierney Sutton)
2. Audrey's Code
3. Delaware and Raritan
4. Prayer for Creation (Feat. Tierney Sutton)
5. This One is for You
6. The Beauty of Differences (feat. Vinod Gnanaraj, John Hadfield & Enoch Smith Jr.)
7. For Each One of Them (feat. Enoch Smith Jr.)
9. Marathon of Love

Added: December 8th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Beauty Of Differences @ bandcamp
Hits: 1244
Language: english

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