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Moutin Reunion Quartet: Something Like Now

This album is full of heroic, high-energy jazz: pounding unison bass-and-piano lines overlaid with heavily drawn harmonized piano-and-tenor lines. The Paris-born Moutin twins, bassist Francois and drummer Louis, performed with an impressive array of European and visiting American jazz musicians before moving to New York in the late 1990s. Their Moutin Reunion Quartet, now seven years old, includes pianist Pierre de Bethmann and tenor saxophonist Rick Margitza. Not to denigrate the virtuosity and good intentions of the musicians, but this is not my favorite brand of jazz. Too busy. Too forceful. Little room for subtlety. I’m sure mine is a minority opinion.

The two-part title tune by Louis suggests Weather Report. Other originals-three more by Louis, four by Francois-also favor a tiered, well-orchestrated approach, although less influenced by Joe Zawinul.

Francois can do anything with the bass: low notes, super-high runs, speed-of-light execution-you name it. Louis is an interactive presence in the ensemble as well as behind solos. Margitza has a surprisingly malleable tone for a hard player. His long tones on “Surrendering” have a singing, human quality. De Bethmann’s playing, vaguely reminiscent of Herbie Hancock, is agreeable.

Originally Published