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Géraldine Laurent: cooking up a storm

With "Cooking", the saxophonist and her quartet are have cooked up a brilliant jazz record.

By Marc Zisman | Video of the Day | October 18, 2019

New bottle, same old wine! With Cooking, Géraldine Laurent serves up another delicacy, along with the entire team from her brilliant 2015 album At Work: the amazing Paul Lay on piano, Yoni Zelnik on double bass, Donald Kontomanou on drums and the pianist Laurent de Wilde on production.

The years spent in each other’s company have clearly strengthened their intuitiveness and they reveal here a record that feels even more powerful than its predecessor. Those who follow Géraldine Laurent will recognise the saxophonist’s warmth and musical force. She truly makes her instrument sing, without ever being excessive. Between the four of them, both the individual conversations and the collective playing reach new heights of cohesion. Nobody poses any metaphysical questions on the state of jazz in 2019, no. They’re there to conjure up strong emotions and call on ghosts such as Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Paul Desmond and Eric Dolphy.

In some ways, the title Cooking speaks volumes. Laurent de Wilde comments " Géraldine wanted to call it that because in music, like in the kitchen, it is a team effort to measure out each ingredient so as to reach a perfect final result. Because an album is cooked up like a meal and it is in fact possible to have taste buds in your ears. Because the pleasure of music is organised, weighed and tasted. And because we always like to hear a passing musician feeling that same pleasure when they push open the venue door and exclaim, amazed: wow... what’s cooking?!".

Ultimately, while At Work featured themes by the greats (Monk, Mingus, Jobim), Cooking is above all the work of Géraldine Laurent, who signs ten of the eleven themes. Here too, her beautiful pieces contain nods towards her elders, but above all they are vast soundscapes - perfect for improvisations. This is pure jazz (no added colourings or conservatives) and you come out from the intense 47 minutes feeling thoroughly reinvigorated.


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