June 19, 2024


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CD review: Ray Lema, Laurent De Wilde – Wheels 2021: Video, CD cover

This project showcases a union between two artists expressing their infinite love of the piano after years of joint concerts and international collaboration.

Laurent de Wilde is a French pianist. He is known for having played with Eddie Henderson and his considerable covers of Thelonious Monk, but also for his interest in the links between electronic music and contemporary jazz. As for Ray Lema, he is a musician who moves between jazz and classical music, passing through traditional Congo, Gnawa and Bulgarian rhythms. Former musical director of the National Ballet of Zaire, Ray Lema has always been careful not to confine himself to any particular musical genre. Lema explains his approach in this way: “To tell the truth, when I compose, it is above all the love of all, of humanity: I fall in love with rockers, reggaemen, a traditional drummer… I don’t think about who I fall in love with, so I am always very embarrassed with this business of classifying my music.”

In 2016, Ray Lema and Laurent De Wilde teamed up for their album Riddles. These two artists continue their joint adventure following years of joint concerts with their new album, Wheels, on which they marry jazz, classical and African music. Recorded on two Steinway pianos assembled more than a century apart, this project aims to revisit a whole repertoire of original works from around the world. “Abyssinight” is inspired by Ethiopian sounds, “Lubablue” is reminiscent of the Congo, “Poulet bicyclette” echoes Caribbean rhythms and “I miss you Dad” employs very American melodies. This work reminds us of the universality of music. As Ray Lema says: “I must admit that while I feel furiously Congolese, from Kinshasa, and at the same time I have so many friends that I care about from all over the world: Brazil, Cuba, China, France … that I can’t allow myself to be locked up anymore. I am only locked in my loves, and all my loves are in there.”

  1. Wheels (4:42)
  2. Human Come First (5:03)
  3. Chains (5:24)
  4. Poulet bicyclette (5:19)
  5. Abyssinight (5:45)
  6. I Miss You Dad (6:09)
  7. Lubablue (7:02)
  8. Saka Salsa (5:43)

Ray Lema (p)
Laurent De Wilde (p)

Wheels - Album by Ray Lema, Laurent De Wilde | Spotify

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