February 26, 2024

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CD review: Jean-Luc «Oboman» Fillon – Jumpin’ with Art 2022: Video, CD cover

For his 17th album as a leader, J-Luc Oboman Fillon, the world’s leading jazz oboist, has gathered four excellent jazzmen around original and personal arrangements of the music of Art Blakey’s jazz messengers (Wayne Shorter, Bobby Timmons, Freddie Hubbard, Cedar Walton).

Originally from Mantes la Jolie, a town that was very much into jazz at the time, he had the chance to attend many jazz concerts at a very early age. In the early 80’s, he discovered the Jazz Messengers and met the great master of drums, Art Blakey. The festival director had asked him to lend his bass amp to Charles Fambrough in exchange for a prime spot at the concert! The curtains open, the orchestra explodes on a Witch Hunt by Wayne Shorter, which makes him dizzy: he remains blissful, intoxicated, euphoric! He buys the record “Live in Paris”, record of the year 1981, essential record to his jazz path. Since then, he has always been fascinated by the music of the Jazz Messengers and consequently by that of Wayne Shorter.

But how and why would he want to play this music again today, and especially with an oboe/English horn and an alto violin as a front line? Especially since the Guinness Book ranks the oboe among the two most difficult musical instruments to play (the other being the French horn). The recognition of the jazz community and beyond has nevertheless encouraged Oboman to continue his pioneering adventure.

Regularly, he takes up the music of the great composers: In 2006, it was “Echoes of Ellington” and in 2014, the album “Oboman Plays Cole Porter”. Both albums were highly acclaimed by the critics, especially for the quality and originality of the arrangements.

This new project “Jumpin’ with Art” – no doubt in reference to Count Basie’s “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” – another childhood memory – and to a little pun between Art Blakey and Art musical…- is presented in a more conventional format with a solid rhythm section => piano (and/or Fender Rhodes), double bass and drums . “When I talked about this project with Olivier Hutman and Fred Eymard, and then with Bruno Rousselet and Karl Jannuska, I immediately felt an enthusiasm and a total adhesion to the project. It was a great success”, says Oboman.

At first, he says that he immersed himself with delight in all the Jazz Messengers’ recordings with, 40 years later, a more informed and therefore more critical ear. The final choice of pieces required a long process of listening and re-listening and was conditioned by the interest and feasibility of an arrangement. “I wanted to be able to mix and shape this musical material to better appropriate it. I wanted groove, Africa, reggae, energy, a nod to classical music with the chorale of This is For Albert – of course, I know it’s a tribute to Albert Ayler, but for me, it’s more about my father, Albert, who’s about to turn 93” says Oboman.

“My idea was to try to make the oboe/viola pair sound as good as possible, so, when possible, to play three voices simultaneously. Then the quintet rehearsals allowed us to adjust the grooves and finalize the shape of the pieces. Everyone had an opinion on the matter and I like that! It’s a pleasant and productive form of collective intelligence.

Finally, our three days of recording went wonderfully well, in a relaxed, good mood and the collective desire to give the best! I am deeply convinced that this 17th album will not go unnoticed! The reunion of the oboe/English horn and an alto violin is a first in the history of Jazz. Yes, I am an oboist, yes, I played 10 years in the classical sphere but Jazz is deeply rooted in me.

01.This Is for Albert (04:22)
02.Tom Thumb (05:31)
03.I’m Not Sure (06:28)
04.Martha’s Prize (04:09)
05.So Tired (03:29)
06.Lost (04:31)
07.Crisis (05:10)
08.United (05:13)
09.Contemplation (05:48)
10.Armageddon (07:14)
11.Africaine (04:08)
12.I’m not sure (Rhodes version) (04:08)

Jean-Luc « Oboman » Fillon: Oboe d’amore and English horn
Frederic Eymard: viola
Olivier Hutman: piano
Bruno Rousselet: double bass
Karl Jannuska: drums

New CD – 2022 – Buy from here

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