An amazing technician, Luc combines a total command of the jazz guitar tradition with a deep love and understanding of world music, including that of his own Basque heritage.
As on the previous release Sud, Sylvain is accompanied by the sparkling rhythm team of Jean-Marc Jafet on bass and André Ceccarelli on drums. Together they deliver a stunning repertoire of 13 compositions, covering a wide range of moods and evocative musical ideas.
Luc penned two originals for the session. The delicate Eraldi" unfolds at an easy tempo over an infectious bass ostinato; and Irdir" is a funky groover. Jafet's smoking Don't Tell Me features a rapid-fire unison line for all three instruments. The remainder of the material covers plenty of ground, all within the framework of the trio's titular southern (read: tropical) musical inclinations.
Sylvain has earned a fine reputation for his inventive interpretations of well-known tunes, and this CD continues that approach. Classic jazz compositions include an up-tempo version of Duke Jordan's Jordu" and two Horace Silver pieces, the driving Out of the Night Came You", and an extremely sensitive reading of the gorgeous ballad Peace".
Major hits like the rollicking version of Miriam Makeba's Pata Pata" stands alongside the Ary Barroso samba Brazil", and Barry Manilow/Adrienne Anderson's Could It Be Magic", featuring Luc's stylings over a very spare, somewhat abstract rhythmic structure. Edith Delécuse's Les Amants d'un Jour" receives a lilting swing treatment, and Jean Renoir's La Complainte de la Butte's" filigreed ballad intro eases into a similarly swinging tempo. Luc arranged the traditional Xarmegaria" as a slightly up-tempo ballad; and his lovely arrangement of Francisco Terrega's Recuerdos de la Alhambra" closes the album perfectly as a beautiful ballad for two (overdubbed) guitars.
Jafet and Ceccarelli's dynamically sympathetic accompaniment ideally complements Luc's incredible acoustic playing, which tears every element of sonic diversity out of his instrument. The interplay and rapport among the three men is truly astounding.
With a culturally diverse rhythmic approach, and subtle nuance smoothly blending with roaring swing, Trio Sud takes the listener on an exciting journey filled with riches, often evoking the spirit of one of Sylvain's major influences, the immortal Django Reinhardt. While the great Gypsy guitarist is an obvious influence upon Luc, who grew up in a family of traditional Basque musicians, he's also drawn inspiration from Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Egberto Gismonti, Paco de Lucia, Robben Ford and Allan Holdsworth, as well as classical composers Ravel, Stravinsky and Bach.
Beginning his guitar studies at five, he entered the Academy de Bayonne at nine, where he added mandolin, violin and cello to his arsenal. Discovering jazz as a teenager in the early 80s, he made his first splash with his critically acclaimed The Bubble Quintet. By the late 80s he combined his love of jazz and traditional Basque music with a newfound interest in South American music, and his highly singular musical style took its mature shape. Luc has also worked with major artists like Michel Legrand, Elvin Jones, Dee Dee Bridgewater, John McLaughlin, Al Jarreau and many others.
Fresh off two successful North American tours, Sylvain's Trio Sud will continue to enhance his rapidly growing reputation on this side of the Atlantic.