Trumpeter Yohan Giaume has reached effectively into the pre-jazz previous to place a really private fashionable stamp on the musical custom that’s a lot the lifeblood of New Orleans. His main inspirations had been the life and work of pianist-composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk. The Crescent Metropolis native (1829-1869) absorbed quite a lot of Afro-Creole and Latin American rhythms and folks songs to craft distinctive romantic chamber music.
On Whisper of a Shadow, Opus 1, Parisian musician and composer Giaume put a few Gottschalk melodies, and eight of his personal inspirations, in a inventive jazz context exploring the circle of life by music and the spoken phrase. His mighty band consists of clarinetist Evan Christopher (the session’s principal soloist), pianist Aaron Diehl, drummer Herlin Riley, bassist Roland Guerin, spoken-word poet Chuck Perkins, and a French string quartet. Trumpeter Nicholas Payton is particular visitor on three tracks.
The recording begins with two Gottschalk items that Giaume tweaked and prolonged. His re-creation of “Le Poète Mourant” (The Dying Poet) by no means strays removed from the composer’s enduring melody. It showcases the moody aspect of Christopher’s clarinet sound, with Giaume following on trumpet. The musical texture of Gottschalk’s piece “The Banjo” is a background for “Mascarade.” The string quartet performs the bouncy basis for Perkins’ phrases that discover the ache and anger hidden behind the grins of post-slavery Blacks. Riley’s drumming underscores its tone.
Giaume’s association of the standard track “Lisette” reveals a romantic ballad that turns wistful at instances by Christopher’s prolonged solo. This piece, additionally that includes strings and piano, initially was “Lisette Quitté la Plaine,” which dates to 18th century French vaudeville operettas. In darkish distinction, “Chilly Information” presents Perkins’ sobering and somber poem over music. It’s rooted within the Easter 1873 Colfax bloodbath in central Louisiana, which has been described because the worst occasion of racial violence throughout Reconstruction. In Perkins’ telling: “Baptized by the crimson blood of freedom seekers, it marked the tip of carpetbaggers’ misrule. Three [whites] died combating white supremacy, 150 [Blacks] died combating to dwell.” Unhappy to say, the message stays related in Twenty first-century America.
Giaume’s “The Promise of Daybreak” is a musical craving for a greater day and indicators a turning level within the session. Showcasing Christopher, Payton and the strings, the solos mirror this composer’s optimism. With Perkins narrating his poetry over Diehl’s spare piano, “Bamboula Goals, Half 1” imagines Congo Sq. within the nineteenth century, with dancing and musical celebrations set to the bamboula and different African rhythms. The instrumental parts right here and on “Bamboula Goals, Half 2” mirror the vitality of an unconquered spirit. Additionally they set the stage for Giaume’s “Lez African É Là,” which to my ears is the venture’s centerpiece.
The composer was impressed by the sound of one other outdated Afro-Creole folks melody “Quan Patate La Cuite,” which Gottschalk utilized in his personal composition “Bamboula.” That includes drums and a chanting choir, “Lez African É Là,” honors the enslaved who gathered on Sunday afternoons in Congo Sq. in Gottschalk’s period. With lyrics by Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes sung by percussionist Philippe Makaīa, it captures the joyous spirit of these gatherings.
The ultimate three tracks discover the cycle of life and dying exemplified by the standard New Orleans jazz funeral parade. The string quartet underscores the mournful nature of “Life Circle, Half 1” (Loss of life) because the brass band heads to the cemetery. Giaume primarily based the melody on a classic Gottschalk lament “Morte!! (She is lifeless).” Diehl units the considerate tone earlier than the complete brass band enters and Payton’s growling, wailing trumpet work soars above all. An interlude, Perkins’ poem “The Passage,” sums all the things up. He writes/narrates that there isn’t a finality in dying, which he calls “a mere cog within the cycle of life.” Loss of life brings one to “the bosom of ancestors,” he says. “All of us expertise dying, however we are going to by no means die.” With extra Perkins lyrics, “Life Circle, Half 2” (Start) paperwork the spirit of the post-burial Second Line celebration. With swinging solos by Payton, Christopher and Riley on the drums, it captures all of the celebratory pleasure of a life lived full.