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El Gaucho

El Gaucho

Jeanfrançois Prins

Label: Challenge Records
Format: CD
Barcode: 0608917333725
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Catalog number: CR 73337
Releasedate: 27-03-12
  • “El Gaucho” is Jeanfrançois Prins’ latest recording as a leader
  • Jeanfrançois’ adult life has been focused on one thing: music
  • Jeanfrançois Prins’ vocabulary runs the gamut of jazz guitar, from horn-like lines to chord melodies, from tones inspired by his elders (Django to Hendrix to Scofield), he has a definitely recognizable sound and style, one where melody is what counts, however relaxed or adventurous the context may be
  • He is involved daily in countless projects from solo to big band, collaborating with vocalists and instrumentalists alike
Recorded on March 28, 2011 and mixed on April 4, 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, “El Gaucho” is Jeanfrançois Prins’ latest recording as a leader. Jeanfrançois’ adult life has been focused on one thing: music. Mainly as a jazz guitarist, of course, performing and recording with many of today’s jazz masters. But also as a composer, arranger, producer for projects covering all styles of jazz, and stretching to world music, film scores, classical, avant-guarde, pop, and new music. He is involved daily in countless projects from solo to big band, collaborating with vocalists and instrumentalists alike. But for his new project, he wanted to get back to this most honest constellation, one of his favorite formats: the trio.

Jeanfrançois Prins’ vocabulary runs the gamut of jazz guitar, from horn-like lines to chord melodies, from tones inspired by his elders (Django to Hendrix to Scofield), he has a definitely recognizable sound and style, one where melody is what counts, however relaxed or adventurous the context may be. The repertoire consists of six of Prins’ originals (Wet, Zorro, Fifth Ave., Noche en las Pampas, What? and Futebol), three Wayne Shorter pieces (El Gaucho, Teru and Black Nile), two standards (Spring is Here and I’ll be Seeing You) and one Victor Lewis original (I Wanted to Say). A word about Prins’ originals: Zorro is as said earlier an epic latin melody, inspired by years of playing boleros and tango music, and by the image of this mythic hero, a mysterious masked noble man galloping on his faithful horse to fight injustice, and steal from the rich to give to the poor. Fifth Ave. was originally written for (and recorded by) Lee Konitz. It is a classic jazz waltz, which displays a rich harmonic progression and gives way to dynamic explorations. Noche en las Pampas is a bolero-like melody with a nostalgic tinge, which describes the campfire night of a solitary gaucho. What? is a line written on the re-harmonized chord progression of “I Hear a Rhapsody”. So, in a tradition coming from the Be Boppers and the Tristano school, it is an intricate and surprising melody performed sometimes unison, sometimes in harmony guitar-tenor sax, with the addition of the bass in the last melody.

Wet is a new line, inspired by the changes of “What is this Thing Called Love?”. The unison phrasing guitar-tenor sax of its angular melody participate in the mysterious mood of the piece, which in time explodes into hard swinging solos. Futebol is a fast samba inspired by the great Brazilian soccer players. Their deceiving moves are underlined by the meter changes – from 4/4 to 7/4 and 5/4 at times...
Joris Teepe and Jeanfrançois started working together a few years ago in small trio and quartet settings, but also teaching workshops and performing together in larger ensembles featuring soloists of such diverse styles as Andy Middleton, Randy Brecker, and Bill Evans to cite but a few. Joris’ solid time, tone and openess to diverse styles, and their musical affinity convinced Jeanfrançois that he would be a strong asset for this project and would complete a sound rhythmic bound with drummer Victor Lewis. Victor Lewis is a true master of modern music. Jeanfrançois first heard him many years ago with Stan Getz’ 4tet in Belgium. They worked together for the first time a few years ago, when Jeanfrançois produced, arranged and played on Judy Niemack’s « Blue Nights » project. Shortly after, they started performing in trio in major NYC jazz venues. Victor’s sense of space and sound, the way he makes every moment transparent, his deep understanding of harmony (he is a remarkable composer himself), his warmth and mastery of dynamics make him a perfect partner for Jeanfrançois’ multi-faceted music. Rich Perry is the trio’s guest on a few pieces. His depth of emotion, gorgeous tone and subtle mix of poetic abandonment and mean swing made him an obvious choice for Jeanfrançois with whom he had performed in the past.