by Marc Antoine – reviewed by Chris Mann
guitarist and composer Marc Antoine was fascinated by music and dance
almost before he could walk. He
won the money to buy his first guitar and learned his first chords
from a neighbour in a single afternoon.
father’s encouragement and with music by Keith Jarrett, Joe Pass and
John Williams to listen to, Marc studied at the Paris conservatory and
perfected his skills playing in Paris clubs.
His passion for
music has carried him through soul-searching over whether he would be
a musician or an Olympic standard swimmer and through a dreadful
injury at the age of 19 which left him with the tendons in his left
wrist severed. This
passion is evident on all six of his solo releases to date, starting
with “Classical Soul” in 1994 up to his latest CD on Dave Koz’s
brand new Rendezvous label.
This is classic
Marc Antoine from the first few bars.
Cubanova (the clue’s in the title folks) is latin with
a distinct groove. The
guitar is as airy as the beat is solid.
The beat’s solid but never hard-edged and there are beautiful
percussion touches throughout from latin percussion master Luis Conte.
Add to this some horn and string backing to die for and one of
the catchiest hooks around at the moment and you’ve got a song that
every jazz/NAC station worth its name should be spinning heavily.
Continuing the theme, Funky Picante has a lovely
staccato drum pattern, sassy horns and joyful percussion.
Antoine’s Spanish guitar sounds confident and, Mike Pela, you
got the balance just right. Perfection.
The title track
moves to a more rigid drum pattern and though all the elements from
the previous tracks are there (minus horns), the latin pizzazz gives
way to a good, strong melody and another great hook.
It’s upbeat and will grab lots of airplay. Preludio is more sombre but still alive with
percussion, a soft hip-hop backbeat and a big acoustic in which the
guitar can work its magic. The
flute sound is the final touch which marks this out as a potential for
use on a movie soundtrack – I’d fade it before the organ at the
The mood is
equally dark on Castellana Hood.
The slow, hypnotic drum pattern is the perfect setting for
Yellowjackets' Jimmy Haslip to deliver a slinky bassline, which goes
way down low. Lulo
Perez creates a great atmosphere with muted trumpet stabs.
Urban gypsy music – really, this is the definition.
There are fusions everywhere.
Afromenco blends African rhythmic exuberance with latin-influenced
jazz styling. Antoine’s
solo on this song is flawless and Perez ditches the mute to indulge in
some spirited trumpet/guitar interplay.
Antoine can sure write hooks…
le Jazz Hip-Hop from “Urban Gypsy”?
That same energy is there on the irresistible Señor Groove.
Marc Antoine, please come to my hometown and open a set with
this. People will be
dancing in the aisles. Can
jazz really rock? Oh my
Lord yes!! This CD has not been out of my player since I received it.
is the song I can’t stop playing.
It’s got a slow but funky rhythm that grabs you.
Andre Manga’s subterranean bass grabs you harder.
The keyboards, background vocals and guitar conspire to carry
you off in a dream. It’s
tempting to play this loud to feel that bass.
Looking back, I think I first heard this over the PA system
before a recent Isley Brothers show.
I remember thinking that moments like that have kept me
spellbound by jazz, funk and soul for over 25 years.
But the Girl’s Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn have written so many lovely
songs and Lady
must rank as one of their best. It’s
the only non-original
composition here and it’s delivered in a smooth, cool, sexy, latin
way. Fred Gaillardet’s
Rhodes playing is more in evidence here and it’s a great old-skool
chugs like a steam train. The
bass and drums are locked in tight and the guitar lines are gutsy and
played with conviction. There
are more old-fashioned and playful keyboards on here.
Marc, if you come to my hometown, close with this and leave
‘em wanting more. You
could jam on this one all night.
closing song here is the pretty Alejandro’s
dedicated, I’d guess to Antoine’s son.
an artist sets out to say “this is who I am”, the result can be
what’s happened here. A
French guy growing up to the sound of African and Brazilian music,
recording an album in his adopted home, Madrid.
I have genuinely fallen in love with this album – it’s
going to sit next to my copy of “Urban Gypsy” and “Madrid” and
they are all going to get played a lot.
Rendezvous Cat no.
REN 5101-2 Producer
– Marc Antoine