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Eric Le Lann, on the occasion of his last release (Thanks a million), gave a dazzling concert.
Eric Le Lann (trumpet), Paul Lay (piano), prom Blomet, November 7, 2018
What a sound! I’m still recovering. A few meters from Eric Le Lann, I get his first notes like a slap. Power of the attack. Force projection. We have the impression that we could touch, shape, weigh this sound. The first piece, it’s Dinah, an old standard of the 1920s that liked to play Louis Armstrong, whereby the drive Thanks a million pays tribute.
Over the pieces I am also sensitive to this contrast between the strength of the sound, and all of these fendillures and cabooses, these notes crushed, beat-up, leveled, those ghosts, these outstanding ghost notes, clandestine passengers listening. That coexist with other sumptuous outfits, simple diamond notes, especially in the treble. This mastery of the treble, the register the hardest and toughest on trumpet, shows that these notes voluntarily are not the failures but the result of anesthetic. Perfection, Le Lann cares, what counts for him is the expressiveness. Express music and expressing self. Without lying. Without telling her. This gives the game a kind of rough honesty that resembles the character.
This force of sound and projection connects Le Lann with Louis Armstrong. But for the rest, the Lann guard his sentence, forged to listen to Miles and Chet, but has its originality, which does not fall into the ridiculous to want to play old style.
Pianist Paul Lay navigates between styles, able to swing in the nails, like an Earl Hines, before escaping to more steep areas and find color abstract after a few choruses. When you listen to Paul Lay, one is struck first by elegance, control, swing, but also by injections of savagery that come by moments heckle his game.
Several great moments in this concert: Tight like this, (known since Jacques Réda how she is a monument Armstrong in) on which Eric the land gives everything, absolutely everything, is showing a heartbreaking intensity. And St. James Infirmary, where the pathos of the theme flows back to the vitality of the blues is all too upsetting.
We arrive at the end of the concert, Le Lann plays Body and Soul associated with The Man I love, one of his favorite standards (there are at least two versions of reference. That played with Michel Graillier disk three o’clock in the morning, and) the one with Martial Solal on the beautiful Portrait in black and white) and it’s beautiful. Feels home rejoicing that replaces a little tense lyricism of the beginning of the concert. And two jewels to the end, Just one of those things followed of Azalea, delicate piece ellingtonien played with the mute. A beautiful evening with a small side: “so, who’s the boss? The answer is clear. Eric Le Lann terrible plays. Hats off to this high Pavilion.