There was a time when the jazz genre was appreciated by a relatively small group of young Haitian musicians who performed in rather small settings in the Pétion-Ville area. How things change”. Nowadays, there is the Annual Jazz Festival that takes place in different cities in Haiti, and jazz concerts are packed with people of all ages showing their appreciation. The time when the jazz genre in Haiti was barely noticed on the musical scene in Haiti is almost a thing of the past. Now a wave of Haitian jazz musicians are holding their own with other great artists whose reputation is known throughout the world. One of those Haitian jazz artists is the incredible trumpet player Jean Caze, winner of numerous jazz international prizes. His most recent CD is entitled “Amédé”
From my view, Jean Caze’s most recent CD, “Amédé” has not received enough publicity among Haitian aficionados. It is a real gem though. Caze mastery of his instrument is admirable. His sound is as pure as you will ever hear from a trumpet player and it is no accident that he is most sought after by some of the greatest American Jazz musicians. It is a joy to listen to these high notes that he reaches on his instrument with such ease!
Caze surrounded himself on this album by some remarkable jazz musicians, both Haitians and non-Haitian: Obed Calvaire, Dave Siegel, Melanie Charles, Mushy Widmaier, Harvel Nakundi, Reginald Policard and many more. The result is an exquisite album and some extraordinary arrangements throughout the CD. Caze’s lyricism comes out beautifully on Reginald Policard’s composition “Always”. Caze is ever so soft in caressing each note, almost like walking on eggs. It is a wonderful tune.
The treatment given to the tune “Cherokee” made famous by Ray Noble is a master piece in itself. Melanie Charles and Caze combine for an incredible performance. For those who are not familiar with the voice of Melanie Charles, it will be a mind-blowing experience as you listen to her humming the melody, and Caze playing exactly the same note throughout. Who is the vocalist? Who is the trumpet player? You have to listen closely to distinguish between the voice and the instrument. It is absolutely amazing to hear how accurate they are in their phrasing! Even when following Caze’s improvisations, Melanie Charles does not miss a single bit, literally.
The arrangement by Mushy Widmaier of the most famous tune “Amazing Grace” is, to put it simply, absolutely remarkable. Mushy Widmaier shows a sense of creativity – a genetic characteristic he probably inherited from his famous father- that will dazzle you.
Except for three songs on the album, Caze is the composer of the 7 other songs, navigating seamlessly from one genre to another, showing how fluid he can be playing different genres: ballad, konpa, pop, you name it. It is thus no wonder that he has been compared to Miles Davis who had a propensity for experimenting with different musical genres.
This CD is constant enjoyment from the first song to the last. At each listening session, you will discover something new in the songs. The CD was released in 2015, so you should be able to easily buy it. It is a must for your collection.
Serge Bellegarde – July 2016 for Windows on Haiti
Help fight Haitian CDs piracy, we all will be better for it. Otherwise, the musician looses, the music industry looses, the culture looses
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