Rhythm, of course, is a basic component in many types of music. Depending on the situation, rhythm can seem like an afterthought, a distraction, an equal partner, or the primary musical expression within the overall music. Musical groups and compositions come together or fall apart depending on the abilities and sensitivities of the rhythm section. It’s what ties everything together, lending the cohesion that determines the energy and direction of the music. Listening to an accomplished rhythm section can be a demonstration of near psychic abilities—the way that musicians can anticipate each other’s moves, supporting and extending and developing the musical ideas intuitively and spontaneously. With the Moutin Reunion Quartet in Something Like New, this creative and rhythmic synchronicity is fully realized in Louis Moutin on drums and Francois Moutin on upright bass.
The Moutin brothers, who are identical twins, provide the foundations and springboards for their own compositions, allowing Pierre De Berthmann on piano and Rick Margitza on tenor sax to rise out of the sonic landscape and shine like brilliant rays of light. The result is an energetic display of creativity with few restraints. All the musicians in this quartet are able to take the lead as well as step back and support the others. They are all capable of virtuoso pyrotechnics and searing and emotive ballads, though the emphasis on this recording is with high-energy showcases for their prodigious technical talents, without losing sight of musicality.
“Bird’s Medley” (track 3, and the only composition on the recording not written by the Moutins) highlight the twins’ playing. Their performance is intricate and complex, imaginative and playful. It’s a bold, creative exchange of ideas. In the middle section of “Take It Easy” (track 4), De Berthmann’s full chords ring out while Margitza’s urgent sax fills in the empty spaces in an artful demonstration of musical collaboration. Margitza shows his sensual and melodic side, as well as his incredible range of tone colors, on “Memorable” (track 5), which is followed by a poignant and wistful solo by Francois Moutin on bass. The musicianship on this recording is first-rate, as are the performances. The recording is all meat and no fat. Highly recommended.
Tracks: Something Like Now – part 1, Something Like Now – part 2, Bird’s Medley, Take It Easy, Surrendering, M.R.C., Tomcat, Echoing, Bottom Line – part 1, Bottom Line – part 2, Touch and Go
– Hermon Joyner