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Blue Serge [Import anglais] CD, Import
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Contrairement à Boston Blow-Up !, son précédant album qu'il prépara avec le plus grand soin, Serge Chaloff improvisa Blue Serge en studio, choisissant sur place les morceaux avec ses musiciens. Nous sommes le 4 mars 1956 et le saxophoniste baryton, l'un des plus grands de l'histoire du jazz, n'a plus beaucoup de temps à vivre. De graves problèmes de santé vont bientôt le contraindre à marcher avec difficulté. Il semble pourtant en pleine forme, heureux de reprendre "The Goof And I" de Al Cohn, un titre qu'il avait précédemment enregistré en décembre 1947, lorsque avec Stan Getz, Zoot Sims et Herbie Steward, il était l'un des Four Brothers, la célèbre section de saxes de l'orchestre de Woody Herman. L'immense talent de Chaloff reste intact dans ces plages. Plein de fougue et de vigueur mais aussi profondément sensible dans les ballades, il concilie puissance et beauté. Au baryton, il émet un étrange vibrato, un léger tremblement comme si, devant une peur soudaine, l'émotion l'étranglait. --Pierre de Chocqueuse
Meilleurs commentaires des clients
Aux côtés de Sonny Clark au piano, Leroy Vinnegar à la contrebasse, et Philly Joe Jones à la batterie, cet album est un concentré d'émotions pures .... fermez les yeux, Serge parle de lui ........
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"Boston Blow-Up" demonstrated the extraordinary cohesion and rapport Chaloff was capable of as a member of a section, in which he's as integral, balanced, and tasteful as Duke's Harry Carney. On the other hand, "Blue Serge," made just weeks before his partial paralysis due to spinal cancer, is an unrehearsed meeting during which Serge's inventive melodic lines, various vibratos and articulations, wide dynamic range, and contrasting rhythmic passages--alternating lyric and dramatic styles--produce a tour de force that transcends virtually any other recording that might be described as a "blowing session." To any listener who doesn't require tight arrangements and short solo spots and who can appreciate the unrestrained mastery of a major improvisational artist for whom the baritone saxophone is as natural and expressive as the human voice, "Blue Serge" has to be given a slightly higher priority than "Boston Blow-Up."
One recording session does not make a player the best on his instrument, but it's sufficient for this listener, in any case, to proclaim Chaloff a player second to none. Just listen to his fluid and dazzling technique on the first two tunes--on which he plays with the smoothness and richness of Harry Carney combined with the swing of Mulligan and the monster post-Bird chops of Pepper Adams. Then dig the follow-up--a somewhat trite tune ("Thanks for the Memories") that Chaloff transforms into a multi-textured, fascinating ballad opus. The last tune, "How About You," was not even included on the original LP, yet it's as soulful and deeply felt as anything on this recording, easily the definitive instrumental version of this standard. The rhythm section--Philly Joe (despite the cover's misleading reference to him as "Joe Jones"), Sonny Clarke, and Leroy Vinnegar--was as hip as any on the West Coast.
I'm blown away by Chaloff's ability to play with a Paul Desmond lightness one moment, then with a Johnny Hodges lushness the next, then with Hawk-like growls and plosives, and finally with a bracing and resonant, foundation-building bass tone the next, suddenly filling the massive chambers of his big baritone horn with unexpected reserves of purposeful breath. I've never heard anything quite like Serge's solo on "I've Got the World on a String." One moment he's charming his mistress/horn with a seductive, alluring tone and the next he's wrestling it to the floor, kicking, boxing, scraping and jabbing until he's got everything under control.
Serge was apparently the black sheep in his family. With a father who was a concert pianist and a mother who was a piano teacher to young prodigies (Hancock, Jarrett, Corea, even Shearing), Serge wound up with terrible addictions to booze and heroin--and an outlandish horn that he played with as much brilliance and striking originality as Charlie Parker did the miniature version. In fact, Serge reversed all priorities, fathering and bringing so much respect to black sheep that the rest of us can only be eternally grateful he didn't wind up in white wool.
Chaloff is joined by Sonny Clark on piano, Philly Joe Jones on drums, and Leroy Vinnegar on bass. The intimate setting allows Chaloff to be at his expressive best, from quiet ballads to bop and swing. The material is drawn mainly from the standard jazz songbook, and in each case Chaloff doesn't linger on the familiar melody for more than a few bars before he's into his improvisation. But he clearly respects the melody and has internalized the chord progressions so they're as natural as breathing.
From the beautiful ballad renditions ("Thanks for the Memory" and "Stairway to the Stars") to the fast-moving licks of the up-tempo tunes ("The Goof and I," "All the Things You Are," "Susie's Blues," and the bonus track "How About You?"), it's all done with such a light touch that you can't believe it's coming from a horn almost as big as its player.
For Chaloff's best playing - and the best audio quality of his CD releases - get this album and the 1955 sextet session Boston Blow-Up!.
I feel pretty certain that until I bought this CD, I'd never heard one before, or at least, never heard one as a spotlighted instrument. Serge is apparently the one guy who makes the baritone sax swing, and after listening to this recording, I tend to agree. I really enjoyed listening to him take that "blow" down into the lower register, sometimes even so low that the only sound left is the blowing itself. (Maybe a whale could hear some of those tones - I don't know.) The supporting trio is fantastic on swinging their way through the songs in as smooth a fashion as possible, so as not to draw attention away from Serge, but nonetheless, the piano work really strings things together, the drum solos are magnificent, and the bass is always where it needs to be whenever it needs to be there. Serge throws in enough of those low fog horn toots to really spice up the recording, and overall audio quality of this CD is very high. In short, there is a lot to enjoy here and it is of consistently high quality. True saxophone fans will appreciate the diversity Serge's baritone sax brings to their record collection, and casual fans of jazz will be amazed how different sounding two instruments both called a "saxophone" (one a tenor or alto and the other a baritone) can sound. (And yes I know tenor and alto sound different, but comparatively speaking, they are not as different as when either is compared to a baritone sax, in my opinon, humble or no.) I only award five star reviews to the creme de la creme, but this is as close as they come without scoring the max. Jazz enthusiasts can add this recording to their collection with ultimate confidence.