Guilhem Flouzat, 32, is a different drummer. His third album as a leader is a radical move. He plays songs you know. Almost no one in the new jazz generation does that. They all think they are composers.
Flouzat’s strong previous recording, Portraits, was much more typical. It contained his originals exclusively. Therefore you are caught off guard when A Thing Called Joe opens with “There’s No You,” composed by Hal Hopper in 1944 and made famous by Frank Sinatra. You wait for this contemporary version to become ironic, but it doesn’t. The wistful melody is lovely, and pianist Sullivan Fortner revels in it, albeit percussively. Then he imposes his own free variations upon it and weaves long counterlines through it. As with many young players from New Orleans, Fortner’s fresh creativity sounds grounded in tradition.