The opening track is ‘We Free Queens’, which harmonic, predictable and , if I am honest, I was tempted to press the ‘next’ button – but didn’t and am glad. I listened a second time and there is so much going on with the instruments – it just doesn’t translate to the overall experience of the track. The organ solo is great, as is the sax solo from Geraldine Laurent and towards the end there is a lovely dipping and diving between them and tenor. Finally, the piece develops and soars. It is worth waiting for but the wait could make some listeners move on. It is followed by ‘I wanna Move’ which more than makes up for any short fallings in the opening track. It is quirky, funny and has a comedic theme which is established at the start and appears time and time again. The music stretches the players more and you get to hear what they can really do – and they can do a lot! There is a profound strength in this track, which comes across to the listener loud and clear. The sax solo from Geraldine Laurent again is divine and the back-up solid. There is a sense of holding back, reining in but that adds to the experience and this is a great track. The quartet’s version of Charles Trenet’s ‘Que Reste-t-il De Nos Amours? is slow, easy on the ears and very carefully played. The organ solo works, followed by beautiful sax playing, adding contrast and relaxation. The fact the listening audience at this live recording fall completely silent during the number is testimony to the playing.
‘One By One’ (Wayne Shorter) is treated respectfully and the essence of the original is translated into divine blowing by the quartet, backed by harmonious organ and solid drums. The trumpet solo from Julien Alour is adventurous and perfectly timed. ‘Rhoda’s Delight’ begins with organ over which the saxes enter, weave and exit one by one creating a long wave of singular, multi and then singular playing again – interesting and all the time backed by the solid organ of Scott. The sax solos are swingy, gentle and very well timed. ‘Valse A Charlotte’ is just lovely – a lilting, walzty danceable number with great work from all the players and the sax solos work wonders here. it is followed by ‘ Joke’ which is one of those quirky numbers which makes you smile. Started with a cheeky, thematic mode, which the others then fill in to create chords and off we go on a journey of fun, frolicks and general good-moodiness. This is a well-written and well-delivered track, penned, incidentally by Sophie Alour of the group, who delivers a devastating alto solo here, burning up the keys in improv mode. Ray Charles’. ‘ What I’d Say’ finishes the CD and here it is given the quartet’s treatment with some delicious growly notes along with little trills and frills and some intricate inputs from Geraldine Laurent and Julien Alour – a light hearted but very respectful delivery of this number and there is some lovely audience participation included.
This album is fun and easy listening jazz. What is clear is the desire of Rhoda Scott, whilst leading, to give generous space to the superb musicians who play with her here. They are given their own spots, solos and chances to add textural harmonies under others’ solo work. This album is a free-wheeling interactive delight.
1 – We Free Queens (Lisa Cat-Berro) with special guests Géraldine Laurent & Anne Pacéo : 05:41:854
2 – I Wanna Move (Sophie Alour) with special guests Géraldine Laurent & Anne Pacéo : 04:10:600
3 – Que Reste-t-il De Nos Amours? (Charles Trenet) : 05:03:360
4 – One by One (Wayne Shorter) with special guest Julien Alour : 05:04:080
5 – Rhoda’s Delight (Lisa Cat-Berro) with special guest Géraldine Laurent : 04:24:707
6 – Valse à Charlotte (Rhoda Scott): 05:44:507
7 – Joke (Sophie Alour) with special guest Géraldine Laurent : 07:29:027
8 – What I’d Say (Ray Charles) with special guests Géraldine Laurent & Julien Alour : 04:05:680
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