Release Date: 2017 Jan 31
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Label: Self Released
Ô-liostére is back with a new release called S-Clave. For this release the group has written a new set of compositions that picks up where Circonflexe left off.
From the opening of Countdown, Ô-liostére makes it clear this is an album that is taking the listener on a journey. The playing on this release is wonderfully tight, the ensemble is completely on point, with a fiery infectious energy that takes the listener completely out of their surroundings. Every time I start this release I just sit back for those first four minutes, unable to do anything but listen to this track.
The second track, Del Mundo, relaxes things a bit: a Latin tinged track that picks of the groove from the first track, but goes in a very different direction. The only criticism could be that the vocals aren’t quite up with the musicianship of the rest of the track. However they are not a distraction from the overall beauty of the track.
Another one of my “just stop to listen” moments occurs on Back 2 Bach. The arrangement of a well known piece of Bach’s work is engaging in ways that really showcase the abilities of the group. Chopped up rhythms, parts alternating between synthesizer, flute and electric piano along with the scat-vocals are impossible to ignore.
The word “Fusion” came to have some fairly negative connotations in the Jazz world in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. It was used as a term used to describe pop-oriented jazz music, and took on a connotation of watering-down to jazz purists. But, I would argue that Ô-liostére makes good on the concept jazz fusion. Their music is more progressive, while verging on pop-style in arrangements.
However, there is also a sensibility to their music that puts it in the category with the Modern Jazz Quartet: these are studied, accomplished musicians that willingly cross and explore styles and genres of music. They fuse them into their own style. Their arrangements are exceptional, and the performances are stellar. But above all of this there is joy in their music that transcends all of the technical aspects of the arrangements, recording and engineering.
There is one final criticism I could make of this release, however it isn’t a fair criticism. I always want to hear more from this group. Any good jazz ensemble can easily leave me longing for more. In this case, I am not just wanting more, but always looking forward for what new invention they are going to come up with next. The anticipation is a killer.
But I know this is an unfair comment: the work that has gone into producing this release is considerable. And, I know that one of the things that is different with jazz ensembles is how they record: all of the instruments at the same time, it’s more like capturing a performance than trying to use the studio as an instrument with overdubs, and tons of other technology advancements. It’s pure music and pure performance. So, instead, I will just have to wait for their next release to be this captivated again,
Ô-liostére is the jazz version of a super-group. However, in their case they take all of their technical skills, influences and abilities and fuse them into a single performing unit. More than that, they take a real joy in performing together. I often think to myself that there isn’t a lot of music or groups that I want to go out to see these days (I generally go to smaller, local shows because they are more fun and interesting than any of the major label groups / artists). However, if Ô-liostére were performing somewhere I could get to, I would be there in a heartbeat. This is a group that I know would put on a good show, their enthusiasm shines through their music on this release and given these arrangements it would translate well to live performance.