The title Une Lumiere Contemporaine sur le Blue School Groove translates to "A Contemporary Light on the Blue School Groove," and the CD often sounds like it could have been recorded for Blue Note Records in the late '50s or early '60s instead of for a French label in the late '90s. French band Bop Sh'bam plays hard bop, but not hard bop that goes out of its way to be cerebral and abstract. This is fairly accessible hard bop that grooves. Think of the more groove-minded recordings that Horace Silver, Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley, Tina Brooks, or Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers recorded for Blue Note in the late '50s and early '60s, and you can get an idea where this French band is coming from on tunes like "La Bossa Du Patron," "Chez La Coiffeuse," and "Viande sur Film." You won't hear Bop Sh'bam playing John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" or Sonny Rollins' "Oleo" at 500 miles an hour; accessibility is a high priority on this retro-bop/soul-jazz effort. Although derivative and not overly original, Lumiere is an enjoyable release that fondly remembers a great period in jazz.
Une Lumiere Contemporaine Review
by Alex Henderson