Tony Hymas

A Winter's Tale

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For this original but accessible piano trio session, Tony Hymas assembled an intriguing combo. Bassist Jean-François Jenny-Clark is a veteran of the French jazz scene who has also played with some of the greatest musicians such as Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders or Keith Jarrett. An early advocate of free jazz in France, drummer Jacques Thollot would somewhat fall into oblivion soon after this recording which waited 11 years to be released. All three appear to be communicating at a high level, which allows their remarkable musicianship to serve the music. Jenny-Clark's virtuosity and unpredictability as well as his woody timbre and throbbing sound, are admirable throughout. Behind his drum kit, Thollot's authority keeps the band focused. Hymas's fluidity enables him to connect seamlessly his ideas as on "Lonesome Traveler Song," a simple melody whose development ends into a heated blowout. The themes display a wonderful melodic invention and the mood is usually melancholic and sorrowful - sometimes with a built-in tension (the splendid "Bruce And The Spider,") and sometimes with a dash of optimism ("Samba.") All the compositions are penned by Hymas except for a collective improvisation "Aménagement du Préalable," which demonstrates that these musicians have not lost their touch when it comes to dealing with unchartered territories. This album clearly belongs to the pianist's unique universe and is a strong statement from an overlooked musician.

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