Meddy Gerville: Barmine
Meddy Gerville (vocals, piano, vox, percussion)
Fo Kronm la vi (MEA Records 2008)
Meddy Gerville (vocals, piano, vox, percussion),
Jim Celesin (saxes), Michel Alibo (bass), Laurent Lebeau (drums), Jerome Calcine (percussion), unnamed guests.
Composed by Meddy Gerville.
Recorded: released May, 2008
Rating: 89/100 (learn more)
When you first hear Meddy Gerville, you are not sure exactly what to make of his music. His sound is a rare combination that at first seems familiar yet upon further listening defies simple categorization. His voice is in itself an accomplished instrument, a hint of Milton Nascimento with a touch of Al Jarreau. His compositions are both refreshingly joyful and surprisingly complex, with Joe Zawinul and Weather Report being a likely influence. A native of Réunion island, a French territory in the Indian Ocean with one of the world's most ethnically diverse populations, Gerville is a talented pianist, composer and vocalist, and has recently collaborated with such master musicians as monster drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez and former John McLaughlin bassist Matt Garrison, who have been drawn to Gerville's unique musical patois.
On "Barmine," Meddy Gerville's vocals are on full display. His ability to dancingly sing in his native Réunionnaise, a dialect of French, in such rapid Brazilian-style phrasing is most impressive. Accompanied by an able rhythm team, Gerville's piano solo is both inventive and steeped in the jazz tradition. This song keeps you tapping your feet throughout. The rhythms are Afro-Brazilian centric, but somehow that description doesn't quite do them justice. The Réunion islanders who are born of multiethnic backgrounds call themselves Creoles, just like the natives of New Orleans. Perhaps this is the new Creole music, but I believe it is more aptly described as true "World Music" of the highest order. In this worthy offering by a talented artist from a remote part of the world, Meddy Gerville has embraced the jazz idiom to create his own musical gumbo that deserves to be savored.
Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello