A brilliant Emile Parisien Quartet in the Unterfahrt – Munich

Emile Parisien announced at the beginning of the concert in the Unterfahrt that his quartet was celebrating its 20th stage anniversary. Given the youthful appearance of his drummer Julien Loutelier, for example, one could tell how young he and his bandmates had started out. Parisien’s career then progressed very quickly: in step with his friend, the accordionist Vincent Peirani, he won the French “Victoires de la Jazz” subscription, became an exclusive artist with the Munich Act label and one of the figureheads of European jazz.

The reason for this was once again clearly demonstrated in the Unterfahrt. It begins with the soprano saxophone, which Parisien specializes in, while almost all other saxophonists only play it as a second or third instrument alongside alto or tenor. And he masters it like no other in the world. He can let it wail slowly, swing classically or accelerate to top speed in wild, free rides; it never squeaks or shrieks. You can not only hear his fine art, but also see it: his face and his whole body are always involved, you can almost follow Parisien’s musical thinking directly.

You quickly understand his qualities as a composer, as demonstrated by his pieces “Coconut Race” or “TikTik”: technoid electronic beats are overlaid with other rhythms, solo explosions (also from pianist Julien Touéry and bassist Ivan Gélugne) and beautiful melodies. Highly complex, but perfectly interwoven.

Parisien has already tried out a lot of things, and the new album “Let Them Cook” focuses on rhythm and groove. And that’s where his strength comes in, leading an ensemble of equals in which everyone contributes something. No wonder it’s become a working band. Ad multos annos!

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