Steady rollin' Jacques Lesure is the natural evolution of traditional swing!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Swing is like love, you can't learn it but you can sure feel it! Good guitarists are a dime a dozen, great guitarists can get in and get out of a solo and never get in their own way and that may be the best description of Jacques Lesure and When She Smiles. Lesure is joined by a stellar lineup that includes the ever versatile Eric Reed on piano, a rising star in Willie Jones III on drums and the lyrical finesse of bassist Mike Gurrola. Taking a look at tunes from Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and Horace Silver might be thought of as predictable yet Lesure has his own sound, a zen like nu-swing where you hear the beat with your feet and there is always a groove you can use!
There is a minimalist flair to Jacques Lesure, clean angular lines with an intense lyrical sense of purpose. What sets Lesure apart is that smoldering just below the technical proficiency demonstrated by this amazing collecting there is a soulful and soul filled contemporary vibe that pushes such treasures as the Sonny Rollins piece "Sonnymoon For Two" forward allowing a new audience to appreciate some of the true innovators of the improvisational music we know as jazz. Eric Reed provides some amazing harmonic counterpoint with a blistering performance on "Without A Song." The slightly dialed down Miles Davis standard "Blue In Green" gets a soulful makeover from Jacques Lesure which confirms his own versatility and vision as perhaps the finest guitarist working the left coast. The intimate lyrical portrait of "I Remember You" is a stellar duet between Lesure and Reed and caps off a virtually flawless release with style and a certain panache that takes what could have been an ordinary release to an extraordinary level. The rock steady rhythm section which is rounded off with Willie Jones III on drums and Mike Gurrola on bass are the glue that holds this most formidable 4tet together.
While the last thing jazz needs is another genre to place on the already over crowded family tree, the nu-swing of Jacques Lesure is certainly one to consider!
Nothing to grind on here.
Tracks: Sonnymoon For Two; When She Smiles I Know; Grooveyard; Blue In Green; Gregory Is Here; I Didn't Know What Time It Was; Without A Song; Time After Time; I Remember You.