For some reason, even though this CD was released in June 2006, I had a hard time getting my hand on a copy by this great Haitian jazz musician I had heard so much about. But, I finally did and I have been listening to it over and over again. Thurgot Théodat's Cd entitled “Badji” is every bit as enjoyable and entertaining as I had been told.
The CD opens with a an interpretation of a traditional Haitian song played on an infectious beat called "yaya ti-kongo". Theodat took care in identifying the beat upon which each one of the 11 songs on the CD are played. Right away, you are swept by the dynamic sound of his saxophone and the conga player is outstanding. As if to let you rest, this song is followed by a slow ballad which highlights Theodat's extremely melodic sound on his soprano saxophone (He also plays the tenor sax.). He glides on the notes of this beautifully haunting melody called Mireille. The sound is enhanced by the excellent guitar work of Claude Py whose style reminds us of the famous jazz guitarist Pat Metheny. His intricate and sophisticated chords provide excellent colors to the melody. You will hear that same wonderful soprano sound in Tune No. 4, Mapassou, played on a “Nago” beat. The mix of beat on this album is remarquable. Tune No. 5, Vodou calypso, is a wonderful mix of calypso and Haitian rhythm. Listen carefully to the mix of the drumming, the conga, the bass and the strumming guitar. Just wonderful! The sax and guitar solos are something else and the interplay between the guitar and the saxophone toward the end is simply excellent.
And what a tribute to the late great Haitian painter Tiga (Jean-Claude Garoute) in Tune No. 6 Tiga! Also played on a Nago rhythm, it highlights some great guitar work. The same can be said of all the 11 tunes on the album which, with exception of Tunes 1 and 7, were all written by Thurgot Theodat. That makes him a pretty good composer!.
The richness of this CD resides not only in its diversity, but also in the sensitivity of the arrangements, the complete feeling of comfort among the musicians. In the liner notes, one of the writers says that “…Thurgot Theodat has communicated to us a full range of emotions with sensitivity, mastery and virtuosity…” I totally concur. Indeed, each one of the songs puts you in a different mood, whether it is the soft bossa nova beat in Tune No. 9, Souvenirs d'Haiti, or the fast and furious rara beat in Tune no. 11 or the wonderfully lyrical and romantic ballad in Tune no. 2, or the nostalgic nago beat in Tune No. 4. There is something for every one and all you have to do is sit back and relax to the expressive sound of Thurgot Theodat. I cannot even say which song is my favorite on the album. I like them all. In my book, this means that this is the kind of Haitian Jazz that you want to have in your collection. So do not delay, if you do not have it yet. You have been missing a whole lot, just like me until I bought my copy.
Help fight Haitian CD piracy, it is bad for everyone
Serge Bellegarde for Windows on Haiti, November 2007
1 post • Page 1 of 1