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Guilhem Flouzat Trio: A Thing Called Joe (Sunnyside)

Review of the third album from drummer Guilhem Flouzat featuring pianist Sullivan Fortner and bassist Desmond White

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Cover of Guilhem Flouzat Trio album A Thing Called Joe
Guilhem Flouzat Trio album A Thing Called Joe

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.

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