Aline Homzy’s debut album “Éclipse,” released on August 25, 2023, via Elastic Recordings, is a breathtaking journey into the uncharted territories of jazz violin. With her ensemble, Aline’s étoile magique, Homzy introduces us to a musical world that is as innovative as it is mesmerizing.
The lineup for this album is a formidable ensemble of talented musicians, including vibraphonist Michael Davidson, guitarist Thom Gill, bassist Dan Fortin, and drummer Marito Marques. Special guests João Frade on accordion and vocalist Felicity Williams add extra layers of depth to the sonic tapestry. With “Éclipse,” Homzy presents an 11-track recording that has been ten years in the making, and it showcases her brilliant musicianship and compositional prowess with remarkable clarity and maturity.
Homzy’s musical journey from her upbringing in Montréal, Québec, to her jazz studies in Toronto, and private lessons in New York has been nothing short of transformative. Her influences are a testament to her dedication to innovation within the jazz tradition, drawing inspiration from the likes of Monk, Mingus, and Ellington. These influences manifest themselves in her compositions, with intervallic melodies reminiscent of Monk, Ellington’s approach to writing for specific musicians, and Mingus-like shifts in tempi and moods.
What makes “Éclipse” stand out is Homzy’s fearless approach to jazz violin. While she acknowledges the influence of greats like Stéphane Grappelli, she is unafraid to push the boundaries of the instrument, using it as a contemporary vehicle for improvisation. Her playing exudes a fullness of sound and boldness in choices that resonate with the virtuosity of violinists like Jean-Luc Ponty and Regina Carter.
The album’s opening track, “Caraway,” is a testament to Homzy’s boldness as both a player and composer. It combines elements of Hermeto Pascoal and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, creating a musical universe that transports the listener. Homzy’s fascination with the unknown is palpable, and she masterfully captures the shift in light during an eclipse through her music.
Homzy’s utilization of the studio as the sixth band member is a noteworthy aspect of “Éclipse.” Effects and post-production tools shape the compositions, creating varied textures and sonic landscapes. The decision to record at The Tragically Hip’s studio in Kingston, Ontario, adds a unique dimension to the album. The theremin and synth manipulation on “Mesarthim” envelops the listener in a surreal soundscape, while Charlie Parker’s “Segment” receives a reverberant treatment, seamlessly fitting into the album’s otherworldly vibe.
One of the album’s strengths lies in Homzy’s ability to balance the use of post-production. She adds layers thoughtfully, always aiming to preserve the musical essence. The result is a lush and immersive sonic experience, with each element carefully considered.
Homzy’s patience and dedication to her craft shine through in “Éclipse.” She waited a decade to record her debut album, and the result is a testament to the maturity of her composition and improvisation skills. “Éclipse” is a striking example of what can be achieved with laser-sharp focus and intention, as Homzy and étoile magique create a richly nuanced musical world where theremins, vibraphones, and violins converge to bring the great unknown to life.
In “Éclipse,” Aline Homzy has not only established herself as a formidable jazz violinist but has also illuminated a path for the instrument into uncharted musical realms. Her debut album is a mesmerizing journey that invites listeners to explore the boundaries of jazz with her, and it’s a journey well worth taking.
Aline Homzy – violin, theremin, synth, voice | Michael Davidson – vibraphone (+ bowed vibes), piano, synth, marimba | Thom Gill – guitar (acoustic, electric), synth | Dan Fortin – bass | Marito Marques – percussion, drums | João Frade – accordion (1, 4) | Felicity Williams – voice (11) | David Travers-Smith – additional synth
01 Caraway | 02 Cosmos | 03 Hanakotoba | 04 Circa Herself | 05 Rose Du Ciel | 06 Aliens Are Pieces Of Wind | 07 La Belle Et L’abeille | 08 Mesarthim | 09 Starring Space | 10 Segment | 11 Bientôt, We Will Collide
Release Date: 25 August
Format: CD | Streaming
Label: Elastic Recordings
Last modified: September 7, 2023