Jazz aficionados have the opportunity to discover another side of Michel Portal, who is also a composer of soundtracks. With Musiques de Cinemas, he decided to revisit some of the themes he wrote for movies and a famous French TV show with an explicit and ambitious objective in mind. For these new readings, he convened with mostly jazz musicians and approached the themes with a jazz outlook without turning them into jazz songs. The themes clearly reflect Portal's other musical interests and his acknowledged eclecticism. They also surely display enough harmonic and melodic qualities to be springboards for improvisation. Based on the mixed results, one is left wondering if Portal actually met his goal. "Docteur Petiot" is a beautiful tango, which gives listeners, for instance, the opportunity to hear Juan José Mosalini, a true legend of Argentine tango and surely an influence on Portal. Jazz definitely transpires through the rendition of "Max Mon Amour #2," featuring Paolo Fresu's smoky trumpet and Rita Marcotulli's angular piano. "Yeleen" is an engaging experiment that pairs Ralph Towner's guitar with N'Diaye Rose Doudou and his drum company. On the other hand, some arrangements suffer from dubious choices (the fusion-like "Une Histoire de Vent") or include occasional dull moments. Unfortunately, what sounded like a good idea is not fully realized in the execution, which prevents this recording from being fully convincing.
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AllMusic Review by Alain Drouot