Saturday, September 15, 2007
Noël Akchoté - So Lucky (Winter & Winter, 2007) ***
Solo acoustic guitar albums are relatively rare, but if it comes from one of the best jazz avant-garde musicians, and when the tunes bring at the same time a relatively mainstream, even poppy ode to the music of Kylie Minogue, then you really have something unique going on. And that's exactly what Frenchman Noël Akchoté does on this CD : in a masterly fashion he transcribed the poppy melodies of the Australian megastar into small jazzy gems : fresh, nice, respectful. And the last adjective is probably the most exceptional characteristic : Akchoté respects this music for what it is, demonstrates what it really contains, once stripped from the populistic beat and mass-moving ass-moving. Even the "allaboutjazz.com" reviewer got fooled by the concept : "the tunes, an interesting mix of unknowns, sound like something you’ve heard before". Even the old hit, "The Locomotion" was covered by Minogue on one of her records. Yet this is jazz, this is blues, this is a record that gives us, with absolute technical mastery, creativity and precision, nice jazz guitar music, without pretence, without showing off, just making nice music : intimate and friendly.