Those who follow the evolution of Haitian music have surely noticed how Haitian jazz has tremendously developped these last few years. One of the great contributors to this trend is, no doubt, the great pianist Reginald Policard, and his latest release entitled “Changing moods” just reinforces the wonderful talent of this musician who work is constantly characterized by excellence, quality and creativity. In my book, he is one of those artists who, from early on, never fails to answer to all expectations. That is a tall order for anyone, but Réginald does it and you just have to this gem of a CD to agree with me.
The title of the CD “Changing moods” is exactly that: a music which is in turn pensive, romantic, nostalgic, smooth, languorous, sensuous, evocative, and everything else. This is certainly a departure from Reginald's previous CDs, but as creative as ever.
Referring to the title tune, Changing moods, Reginald says that it could have easily been entitled “Colors”. Indeed, he seems to let his imagination wander around the melody, with one beautiful phrase leading to another and another. The music is enhanced by a wonderful team who gives such color to the music. Guitarist Leo Quintero (Haitiando) really shows his stuff with a beautiful solo in the song which is played in a very nice bolero beat. Listen how smoothly Reginald plays the electric piano.
In tune No. 2 “Fascination “, the pianist is very lyrical, as if the were having a dialogue with his instrument, going back and forth, sometimes pensive, sometimes lighthearted. Dave Fernandez on the saxophone does an excellent job, at times reminding me of the late Cannonball Adderley. I really enjoyed the play of bassist Dion Kerr who provides solid support.
I should also make a special mention of the remarkable arrangement of the Haitian folkloric song “Damballah” written by Raoul Guillaume. It is quite amazing to hear this arrangement. Bassist Mike Bordelon introduces the theme and the rest of the band takes it from there. McCoy Tiner would be quite happy to listen to this arrangement and to how Reginald Policard uses those beautiful chords on the piano. Drummer Harvel Nakundi does such a wonderful job supporting the music every step of the way, never going too far and providing just the right impetus.
Tune No. 4 “Carole” is a beautiful romantic melody written by famous Haitian guitarist Boulo Valcourt. What another gem! The music is beautiful enhanced by the fantastic Haitian trumpet player Jean Caze, whose solo is as lyrical as you will ever get, while Réginald plays a delicate solo reflecting his romantic mood.
You will also thoroughly enjoy Tune No. 7 “Yanvalou Blue”, in which the pianist says that he “has the impression to have taken many steps before getting to prepare this cocktail...”And what a cocktail it is! One of the richest Haitian folkloric beat supporting a vibrant melody.
Now if you want to feel really mellow, there is nothing more to put you in the mood than Tune No. 8 “Un soir d'été”. You can almost see the sun setting in a beautiful yellow color, on nice beach, seeping a nice rum cocktail, just relaxing to the sound of soft jazz, just like this song, without worry. What a life! Dave Fernandez‘s solo his just excellent.
The CD closes with an incredibly lyrical and touching tribute to his father who, in his word, left too early. The melody is just superb and conveys powerful feelings of loving memories, sensitivity and serenity. You cannot help but imagining the wonderful relationship that must have been between Reginald and his father and this song is indeed a fitting tribute to him.
Each one of the songs on the CD is a real gem and I do not even try to suggest which one is a favorite. The mixing is excellent and this is just another excellent piece of work by an excellent, conscientious and highly professional artist. I could not be any more enthusiastic in encouraging in recommending you this CD. This is smooth, excellent jazz, Haitian style, at its best!
Serge Bellegarde – Help stop Haitian CD piracy. It is bad for everyone
For Windows on Haiti, June 2008
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