CD Review | Gasy Jazz Projects | Gabrielle Koehlhoeffer

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Gasy Jazz Projects blends Jazz and Malagasy music.

Malagasy music has long served a variety of secular and sacred purposes in Madagascar. Songs may accompany daily tasks, provide entertainment, preserve history or communicate social and political messages. Music is likewise integral to the experience of the spiritual rituals among many ethnic and religious groups on the island.

Looking for a narrative summary to explain the fusion of sounds one experiences as the key foundation stones of this fascinating jazz musical fusion, I offer the following: It’s like the DNA of a Bill Evans-esque trio meets the highly diverse and distinct percussive music of Madagascar that has defied the long transition of traditional evolution, but rather has evolved overnight into a spiritual hybrid. Naturally comforting, you willingly surrender, allowing yourself to be drawn in and it’s really immersive, rewarding, like healing spiritual jazz medicine.

This is a self-produced first album with all original compositions. The musical architect of the Gasy Jazz Projects Trio is the Franco-Malagasy bassist Gabrielle Randrian Koehlhoeffer. Born in 1989 Gabrielle first learnt the piano, moving onto the double bass at age 10 years. She first studied classical music and moved onto Jazz. Quickly achieving recognition from her peers and winning the Marion Bourgine Prize at the Marciac Jazz Festival in 2013. In my opinion, Gabrielle is musically mature far beyond her years, and she is fast becoming well known on the French jazz scene, playing and guesting with many musicians as well as playing with famous Malagasy musicians and their popular music.

Gabrielle’s plays with two superb contemporaries in Daniel Moreau on piano and Fabrice Thompson on percussion making up this fabulous jazz trio.

Firstly, what I really like about this 10 track album is that every track is of a quality that allows it to stand on its own. As if a story within a story.

Anjiro – track 1 and its first 47 seconds was the reason I sought out the artist and requested that I might review this CD. In those beginning 47 seconds, you hear the slightly insistent free-flowing bass notes searching for harmonic continuity. After a silent sigh of content, the double bass finds the start of a rhythmic heartbeat as it first meets its melodic companion, the piano chords as expressed with a sensuous touch and your introduction to Daniel Moreau ’s gifted piano playing. Followed closely by Fabrice Thompson’s exquisite drums/percussion. I was hooked after 60 seconds and I haven’t faltered.

As with the narrative style of the story within a story, the first track “ Anjiro” sets the stage for the main narrative being for me what Gasy Jazz Projects is ultimately about and has achieved. The Fusion of a Piano Jazz Trio beautifully integrated together with Gabrielle’s expressed musical heritage from the beautiful diverse Island of Madagascar. This Jazz trio is complimented with the guest playing of Passy Rakotomalala playing the percussion on tracks 2 and 4.

Each track continues as if a chapter of a music book. Telling its story and it really develops and you find yourself becoming more and more aware of the overall rich diverse complexities, and consistent optimal musical synergetic interplays between Gabrielle, Daniel Moreau and Fabrice Thompson that prevail throughout this whole album. Every time I have listened to this album, and I have in my car, iPod, and on our home sound system – which was marvellous. The more you listen the more you discover!

Gasy-Jazz-Project (left to right) Gabrielle Koehlhoeffer, Daniel Moreau and Fabrice Thompson.

I could easily write pages and pages about this stellar album, but No…I want you to experience it for yourself.
The album is 1 hour and 3 mins of beautiful Jazz Fusion Music, meaningfully composed and tastefully delivered.

My personal favourite is track 5 – “Hira Kely” translates as Little Hymn – Daniel Moreau’s piano key touch expressions is very soul-stirring!

Look up “Gasy Jazz Projects” on Spotify, and add it to your playlist, or you can purchase the physical CD via Gabrielle’s website, perhaps as a gift for someone special at Christmas or their Birthday. I can highly recommend this. Also, it’s available on Amazon and iTunes.

Gasy Jazz Projects is a Jazz Trio Lovers Must Have Album for Their Collection.

CD Review: Nigel J. – EiC @ JazzinEurope

Photo credits: Haingo Madazicart – and (c) info: all rights go to original recording artist/owner/photographer(s).


Last modified: October 26, 2018