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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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CÉDRIC HANRIOT

French Stories

Plus Loin Music PL 4535

 

 


1. Louisiana
2. La Chanson des Vieux Amants
3. Crunkie
4. Your Sweetness
5. Prelude
6. Mambo
7. Tribal Poem
8. Que Marianne ‚tait Jolie
9. Le Jazz et la Java
10. Hymne à l'Amour

Cédric Hanriot - Piano, Fender Rhodes, keyboards, organ, programming
John Patitucci - Upright and electric bass
Terri Lyne Carrington - Drums, vocals
Benjamin Powell- Violin (tracks 1, 4, 5, 7, 8)
Patrick Owen - Cello (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8)
2th - Vocals (tracks 2, 8, 10)

 

I am usually wary when I see the word "programming" on a record sleeve, as it often suggests artificially contrived music without any soul. But this album offers a colourful kaleidoscope of sounds. In fact Cédric Hanriot trained for a degree in Electronics and Digital Audio Processing before he started playing the piano when he was 21. This led to study at the Berklee College of Music and eventually to this CD - his first album, recorded mainly in the USA.

Most of the pieces on the album were composed by Hanriot but his French origins are clear in his versions of songs by the likes of Jacques Brel (La Chanson des Vieux Amants) and Edith Piaf (Hymne à l'Amour). He is well supported by two giants of American jazz - John Patitucci and Terri Lyne Carrington, who supply a funky jazz-fusion beat for the opening Louisiana.

The varied moods of the album are clear in the second track: a slow, pensive number firmly underpinned by John Patitucci's string bass and adding the poignant sound of Patrick Owen's cello. Vocals are supplied by the mysterious "2th", who tends towards sprechgesang. The mood changes again with the dislocated rhythms of Crunkie featuring powerful drumming by Terri Lyne Carrington.

Carrington co-wrote Your Sweetness with Cédric. Terri adds incomprehensible spoken vocals and a multi-tracked choir almost concealed beneath a wash of strange noises and heavy beats. By the time I reached this track, I had realised that this is not so much an album to analyse but to sit back and simply soak in. It is an aural experience rather than a series of tunes and, as such, it is intriguing and almost hypnotic.

It is certainly different from your average piano trio album, partly through Hanriot's multiple instruments and sound effects, the use of violin and cello, and the enigmatic voices that appear from out of nowhere. Strange as it is, I like it quite a lot, even if I don't always know what is going on.

Tony Augarde



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