A rising star on the French jazz scene, Simon Chivallon demonstrates a genuine talent for the keyboard in his latest album Light Blue. Whilst carefully yet creatively reimagining melodies by masters such as George Harrison, George Brassens and Billy Strayhorn, Chivallon also provides four original compositions. From listening alone you wouldn’t know the interpretive element was there, for Chivallon respectfully adds his own effortless touch to these classic melodies, allowing for a unified album, and therefore, a unified listening experience. The immediacy of Chivallon’s improvisation brings the melodies of Light Blue to life; such a recording never sounded so present.
Moving away from the quintet format of Chivallon’s first album, Light Blue presents a more intimate setting – a trio featuring Nicolas Moreaux on double bass and Antoine Paganotti on drums. The way these musicians support and enhance Chivallon’s playing is excellent, providing complementary harmonic and rhythmic support for Chivallon’s exciting melodic journeys. It is hardly surprising to hear that the three of them have worked together prior to Light Blue; their integration is impeccable.
One of Chivallon’s originals, The Wanch, truly shows his talent for melodic composition and treatment. From the first couple of seconds, the main melody is so clearly alive. The ensuing treatment lets it naturally evolve and develop while always retaining its essence. This makes for a stimulating experience, but one which can still be followed effortlessly. This observation can be extended to all 10 tracks; each is full of melodic logic and flavour.
Chivallon’s effortless touch on the piano allows for an effortless listening experience. But don’t be fooled: just because Light Blue sounds as natural and genuine as jazz comes, it doesn’t mean that this album isn’t bursting with excitement – classic melodies mixed with new ones, improvisatory dexterity and a pianist truly playing “in the moment”.
Joy; Echoes; Après Un Rêve; The Wanch; Middle Avenue; Light Blue; Dans L’Eau De La Claire Fontaine; La Mer; Something; A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing (43.00)
Chivallon (p); Nicolas Moreaux (b); Antoine Paganotti (d). Paris, 5 March 2021.
Jazz & People JPCD821001