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Over the last few years, Emile Parisien has taken a break from his quartet to embark on other adventures, also documented on the ACT label.

Now he’s back in record stores with a line-up that, apart from the drummer, has not changed personnel since its creation twenty years ago. Initiated when its members were barely twenty themselves, this quartet has had ample time to evolve and mature, and that’s why it still exists today: the four lads still haven’t tired of exploring, delving into sound material, in short, of playing.

And that’s what the title of this CD, to which we’d be tempted to add an exclamation mark, in a way affirms: “Let them Cook!”, hard to translate, but where “cook” refers to the “Cookin'” of the title of one of Miles Davis’ quintet’s achievements in the ’50s.  If it “cooks”, we could say in French, it means that it’s heating up. And indeed, Emile Parisien‘s quartet exudes an energy, a bubbling, an unheard-of vibrancy that is uniquely his own.

Quartets of the same format abound in the global jazzosphere, but this one possesses an instantly recognizable sonic identity, and not just because of the presence of its leader’s magnificent soprano sax. Indeed, the group’s collective dimension is largely due to the fact that each of its members not only composes, but also contributes to the quartet’s group sound with a remarkably original personal sound. In addition to the leader’s inspired interventions, it’s a delight to follow Julien Touery‘s piano part, the refined polyrhythm of Julien Loutelier‘s drums and the way Ivan Gelugne‘s double bass positions itself within the quartet.

On the present recording, this group sound has been enriched by an electronic dimension, without the discreet addition of these effects distorting its identity. For the quartet’s aim is always and above all to tell stories, and this melodic, narrative aspect is present right from the splendid ballad that opens the CD.

Heating up doesn’t necessarily mean rushing, and what might be described as “slow combustion” is clearly present – alongside the incandescent themes – throughout the tracks of a recording that reaffirms the place Emile Parisien‘s quartet occupies at the top of jazz combos not only in France and Europe, but worldwide.

Line up :

Emile Parisien: soprano sax

Julien Touery: piano

Ivan Gelugne: double bass

Julien Loutelier: drums

Let them Cook was released by the label Act on January 19, 2024

© Photos Samuel Kirszenbaum

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