May 22, 2024

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Take One. Over in France, Mike Chéret plays a beautiful tenor saxophone: Videos

Over in France, Mike Chéret plays a beautiful tenor saxophone. When I last posted about Mike in 2016, I featured a series of videos of a band he led on alto in 2014 playing arrangements from the album Art Pepper + 11. Now Mike has released an album called Take One by his sterling hard-bop quintet, We Five. The band consists of Jim Rotondi (tp), Michael Cheret (ts), Olivier Truchot (p), Brice Berrerd (b) and Andréa Michelutti (d). Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 6.10.23 PM
The album’s songs are Milt Jackson’s Compassion, Rotondi’s and Eric Alexander’s Mode for Mabes, Mike’s Two Minutes of Rose, the standards I Concentrate on You and It’s Easy to Remember, Ray Charles’s Mary Ann and the standard My Romance. What you notice immediately is how purposeful this group is. All of the musicians are driven and play tightly together, but they also give the music air, allowing what you’re hearing to float around and sink in.

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Born in 1974, Mike began playing the alto saxophone at 17 and entered the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris at 26. Now he plays mostly tenor and soprano saxophones. Over the years Mike has played in several different groups in France and has toured in the States.

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Even the standards on Mike’s new album are given a fresh spin. Mike and Rotondi make for a delicious pairing. Both have a different approach but they share a poetic sensibility. As they show on this album, it’s not solely about notes, speed and heat but about beauty.

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Hopefully we’ll hear more of Mike, whose tenor saxophone has a big yearning feel. For more about the album and click on the English translation.

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The group playing I Concentrate on You from the album…

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