Chronique musicale 108
Move over, Kenny G! There is a new kid on the block and his name is Jowee Omicil, a young Haitian-American saxophone player who is leaving his mark all over the place these days. Indeed, I will always remember my first time listening to Jowee Omicil at the First Haitian Jazz Festival in New York about two years ago. What a performance that was! Since then, he has been going up on the chart. For those who have not had the opportunity to listen to him, here is your golden chance with the release of his most recent CD - and I believe his first – entitled Jowee : Let us do this. Trust me if I tell you it is a very good album. All twelve songs on the CD were written, composed and produced by Jowee who is proving to be quite a composer.
If you want to relax to some good sound, then this CD is for you. It is a perfect example of the so-called Smooth jazz genre, when Jowee Omicil uses his sax soprano to charm you, to make you feel good all over. He is supported by an excellent cast of musicians, among them the great Haitian guitarist Harold Faustin on the guitar. Jowee does not only play his saxophone, it is almost like he is in a conversation with you, expressing ideas, motions, lyricism, all kind of emotions. His harmony is superb and the musicians do a wonderful job of walking alongside him every step of the way. Listen for example to his excellent solo in track No. 6. He is followed by equally expressive solos by trumpet player Darren Barret and guitarist H. Faustin respectively. It has been a while since I had heard Harold Faustin and is playing remains as satisfying as ever.
As you listen Jowee's music, you easily understand why, in the liner notes, he lists as his mentors icons like Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders and the likes. In my mind, John Coltrane's influence is most present in his music, even though his style is totally different. Throughout the CD, those familiar with Coltrane's playing will hear some similar phrasings and notes here and there by Jowee, such as in track No. 12, among other examples. One striking aspect of Jowee's play is his exhuberance, his joie de vivre when he plays his instrument. He communicates his enthousiasm to his audience and his concerts become a real moment of bubbling enjoyment.
Jowee Omicil's CD is a satisfying piece of work which you will thoroughly enjoy. Hurry and get your copy, so that you can experience the play of this young and so promising artist. He deserves a good spot in your collection.
Help fight Haitian CD piracy – It is bad for everyone.
Serge Bellegarde, for Windows on Haiti, Jan 2007
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