In the course of recording three albums with their current lineup, the Parisian powerhouse of brothers Francois and Louis Moutin’s Reunion Quartet have quickly established themselves as one of the most creative new bands of the decade.
Pairing a profoundly virtuosic rhythm section with a series of lyrical compositions that highlight the brothers’ seeming fascinations with both neo-bop and Weather Report-era fusion, their latest effort only advances their status.
Deft time shifts and the thoughtful admiration of musical heroes mark more than a few of these nine, electric keyboard-heavy tracks. “Blessed and Cursed,” pays homage to Jaco Pastorius with enigmatic keyboard waves of atmosphere setting the stage for a lone, methodically punctuated cymbal crash. As the first bass strains give way to Ricky Margitza’s thoughtful, almost brooding tenor performance, the mood shifts, as if to recall one of Pastorius’ infamous swings from low to high and back.
Next, “Mr. N.R.,” another tribute tune, recognizes the spoken word contributions of spoken word artist Norman Riley. And the most unique track on the album comes in the form of a bass and drums arrangement of Monk tunes, perfect for illustrating the legend’s percussive approach to melody.
Though the Moutins are the primary composers here, two more highlights feature their bandmates Pierre de Bethmann (on “Clinton Parkview,” which Francois first recorded with Ernie Watts in 2007) and onetime Miles tenor man Rick Margitza, whose short but persistent refrain on “Forgotten Feelings” lends a poignant sense of emotion to the album as a whole.
Soul Dancers: Sold Answers; Depths Light; Momentum; Monk’s Medley; Mr. N.R.; Blessed and Cursed; Clinton Parkview; Forgotten Feelings; Quiet Force (49:05).
Personnel: Francois Moutin, upright acoustic bass, composition; Louis Moutin, drums, composition; Pierre de Bethmann, piano, keyboards, vocals; Rick Margitza, tenor saxophone.
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