November Dusk Review

November Dusk album cover

Philippe Crettien’s Quartet has released their new CD, November Dusk.  I met Philippe Crettien in 1991 at the Toulon Jazz Festival where he was one of the first featured artists of the then new festival.  Back then his sound was bold and penetrating, influenced by Coleman Hawkins among others. Since then he has never stopped evolving.  His current state of maturity has been influenced along the way by the likes of Wayne Shorter and Warne Marsh.  Philippe has developed a warm round and powerful sound that has a touch of fragility and is sometimes edgy and angular.

The personalities and skills within this quartet facilitate the perfect collaboration to create and execute this original music. Philippe’s writing skills have evolved as well, composing personal and interesting tunes for this CD.  There is a very beautiful unison between the tenor saxophone and the upright bass on “November Dusk,” which has solos flowing into each other against the countermelodies of the bass.  The guitarist, Patrick Mottaz, comes from the great jazz guitar tradition. He is an excellent soloist and accompanist – a young man to watch!  The drummer, Mike Connors, plays with great sensibility, which becomes obvious in his wonderful solo on the Calypso influenced “Blues pour Valentin.”  The tenor is reminiscent of Sonny Rollins, another influence in Philippe’s musical life. “Fall Line Flow,” is a very beautiful melody masterfully executed by the tenor and guitar, supported by a driving bass line.  The group experiments with odd meter grooves such as the Reggae inspired “Opposite Poles” where Patrick Mottaz reaches new heights.  The beautiful ballad “Pluton” provides Crettien a vehicle to express his great lyricism.

The only criticism I have is the pseudo free playing on “Rungs,” which, in my opinion, is outdated.

Let’s not throw away our listening pleasure.  This is a beautiful CD performed by young and not so young musicians, masters of their skills.  The compositions are by Crettien and Mottaz who reveal themselves as creative writers. Let’s savour the last tune, “Mr. Sleepy,” which starts with a bass intro followed by a dramatic guitar solo which peaks with great beauty.

by Serge Baudot