Musicians play notes...Artists manipulate sound and silence.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Jacques Scwartz-Bart is a quiet force in jazz. The perfect storm. A full bodied and sophisticated approach coupled with the controlled sonic fury of improvisational wonder. Jazz Racine Haiti is a global fusion of traditional Haitian Voodoo music with the improvisational form of music commonly referred to as jazz. The Haitian voodoo music is intense, spiritual and with a defined rhythmic undercurrent not commonly heard in America. Groundbreaking fusion with a harmonic difference, an edge of mystery and imagination.
To dispel commonly head myths, there is nothing inherently "evil" about voodoo. This is a religion that came to the New World from Africa, a link to black magic simply does not exist. The tenor sound is warm, robust and brimming with a soulful and soul filled fury not heard from his contemporaries. Trumpet wizard Etienne Charles provides an intriguing and occasionally electrifying counterpoint of melodic ideas from which Bart takes to the next level. To break down the music here is somewhat pointless as this is "Star Trek" territory for musicians, listeners and critics alike. The sound however is a vibrant exuberance of lyrical motion, an island swing as it were.
Preconceived notions are a critics worst nightmare. Sadly there are some that when hearing of the influence will dismiss the release as "primitive." Their loss...Jazz Racine Haiti is as complex and nuanced as any release you may come across. As a critic I have learned one lesson, take what you know and what you like and move past that. Jacques Schwarz-Bart has opened a new cultural and harmonic door and we are better for it.
Easily one of the best for 2014
Tracks; Kouzin; Banda; Blues Jonjon; Bade Zile; Night; Kontredans; Sept Fe; Vaudou Zepole; Je Vous Aime Kongo; Legba Nan Bye.
Personnel: Jacques Schwarz-Bart: Tenor Saxophone.
Erol Josue, Rozna Zila, Stephanie McKay: Chants and Vocals; Etienne Charles: Trumpet; Alex Tassel: Flugelhorn; Milan Milanovic, Gregory Privat: Piano; Ben Williams: Upright Bass; Reggie Washington: Electric Bass; Obed Calvaire, Arnaud Dolmen: Drums; Gaston "Bonga" Jean-Baptiste, Claude Saturne: Percussion.