Jocelyn Menard Jazz Quartet's label debut Men Art Works is an excellent sculpture of melodic mosaics collected on one amazing, inspired disc. Ten songs exemplify Menard's musical direction with such stellar performers as bassist George Mitchell, drummer Martin Auguste, and the internationally acclaimed pianist Alain Jean-Marie. Menard, who lives in Guadeloupe, wrote all songs except one, plays both tenor and soprano saxophones, and offers his listeners fresh, personalized interpretations that are rich with echoes of such great musical influences and educators as Dave Liebman, Arturo Sandoval, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Max Roach. On the opening track, "On the Road," the listener experiences Menard's bebop techniques on tenor saxophone. With riffs reminiscent of Sonny Stitt, Menard is swinging hard and fast, rounding curves and personifying the opening song. Changing horns, his sound is comfortable and inviting on "Tristesse," a beautiful, pensive ballad that features him on soprano saxophone, singing ever so sweetly on the opening theme statement. His inspired solo is especially fine. Although Menard doesn't have that big sound on tenor -- his soprano is fuller, more direct -- it will undoubtedly grow throughout the years. This by no means is an attempt to discredit his tenor playing, but with the tenor battles raging in jazz circles, Jocelyn Menard's sound is more interesting on soprano. Give a listen to his great solo on "Someday My Prince Will Come," and you'll hear what he means. Great ideas, great improvising, and excellent piano ideas from Alain Jean-Marie and bassist George Mitchell.Men Art Works by the Jocelyn Menard Jazz Quartet is a rare find and a great addition to any jazz collection.
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AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein