CD Review: Francis Demange Quartet - Living Standards
Europeans always liked and supported jazz since the beginning. When they first heard James Reese Europe HellFigthers. At the beginning of the 20th century when jazz was regarded as inferior black music, some european classical composers were among the first to recognize the richness and the quality of this new music. And when jazz legends like Miles, Duke and Dizzy went to Europe, especially France, they were treated as royalty in a time when back in the US they were not allowed to stay in the same hotels with jazz white musicians.
So it is no wonder a lot of great jazz music and musicians comes from Europe, like these amazing musicians from France the Francis Demange Quartet. Their CD Living Standards is precisely that, a collection of unique arrangements of Jazz standards. Living Standards starts with the melodies of On green dolphin street played over a repetitive piano motif changing into chords harmonization for the piano improvisations.
The tempo speed up on a piece not recorded often, Con Conrad The Continental, with another great piano solo by Francis Demange. Bertrand warm tone and fabulous sense of time can be fully appreciated on the jazzy version of Tom Jobim The Girl from Ipanema and All the things you are, a piece that starts with a syncopated intro and then changes back and forth between a faster and slower tempo.
A slower arrangement of Giant Steps shows this Coltrane composition is not just a pyrotechnics exercise but a quality melodic and harmonic piece. On Paul Desmond Take Five the melodies are played as a duo of sax and trumpet with special guest Sylvain Gontard. In the improvisations, bass and piano quotes another classic, Miles davis So What. The quartet does a different but equally interesting arrangement on Toots Thielemans Bluesette, starting fast and gradually slowin the tempo.