Thursday, November 25, 2010

Didier Lockwood: Storyboard (1996)

Be prepared for something very exciting - "Storyboard" is a unique journey in Lockwood's penchant for fusion, free-jazz, ethnic and classical music. Finding musicians who master the same styles to its full, was probably a difficult exercise for the production team for "Storyteller". The choice of musicians was a bold choice, but not a surprising one. Didier Lockwood violin virtuosity has been undisputed since '70's, Joey DeFrancesco's dexterity on the Hammond B-3 organ (and trumpet) is widely known even within the fusion world through his collaborations with John McLaughlin & The Free Spirits, drummer Steve Gadd is perhaps the most versatile musician on the planet, James Genus are very familiar in nearly the majority of settings, both on acoustic bass and electric bass guitar, and if that was not enough, saxophonist Steve Wilson from Chick Corea's Origin is the disc's guest musician on both alto and soprano sax. The variety in styles of music through some obscure compositions and Lockwood self-penned melody options, makes this 71-minute CD is a listening experience of rare quality.
French cafe music tradition is a fundamental element of "Tableu d'une Composition", the beautiful ballad "Mathilde" conduct Lockwood / DeFranceso with elegant organ accompany behind string improvisations, "Storyboard" solo violin introduction recalls the "cold Nordic sound" before the fast hill-billy rhythms takes over and encouragement for dancing lessons are evident. Joey DeFrancesco is heard more often on the trumpet on several albums, and thank our Lord for that, because it sounds right nice on "Spirits Of The Forest" in interaction with the oriental-inspired free jazz playing from Lockwood, with his left hand firmly anchored on the upper manual on the B-3 organ for coloring with a "Larry Young" sound. On "Back to the Big Apple," a straight ahead post-bop tunes, we are experiencing hard swinging violin and alto saxophone in creative interaction. Hard to pick the best tune on this album since they are all great, but one highlight is "Serie B"; a moving slow tune where Lockwood uses the electric violin synthesizer sounds with great innovation. All the tunes on the album have its own story to tell through the five brilliant musicians in the ensemble. The recording sound and quality is excellent with an airy openness like we have on many ECM recordings, which is perfect balancing the the violin sound. Certainly the right accessible entry album to explore the music world of Didier Lockwood. My Lockwood journey has started with this great album. -- Terje Biringvad
1. Thought of a First Spring Day
2. Back to the Big Apple
3. En Quittant Kidonk
4. Mathilde
5. Tableau d’Une Exposition
6. “Series B”
7. Storyboard
8. Irremediablement
9. Spirits of the Forest
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