SJRCD1001 Gilles Clement/Woody
38 year old Gilles Clement hails from Pantin, to the North east of Paris. He made his first CD four years ago on the French Musidisc label - an album which sold over 4000 copies worldwide. "Wes Side Stories" received much critical acclaim and was chosen as one of the best 10 CDs in France in 1993. Gilles studied guitar with French master Pierre Cullaz before turning professional in 1985. In 1995, Gilles was chosen to be one of the 8 guitar players for the prestigious Thelonius Monk competition in Washington DC. It was there that he came to the attention of Pat Martino, one of the competition judges. Pat was so impressed with Clement's playing that he's taken the time to add his own tribute within the sleeve of this new CD...
"Through the years, I've come in contact with quite a few really great guitarists and each and every time, I truly find it really exciting. Maybe that's because it always happens when least expected. Well, it's happened again! I've deeply enjoyed this particular CD; both as a composer and as a player. I "tip my hat" to another great artist who'se entered the minds of all of us who are dedicated to the art of jazz guitar." /Pat Martino
Gilles has also played with Jimmy Raney, Philip Catherine, Houston Person and Rene Urtregger.
"Woody" features Gilles in a trio setting with Philippe Petit on Hammond B3 and Eric Dervieu on drums. Saxophonist Pascal Gaubert guests on Rue De La Source. Very much influenced by the playing of Wes Montgomery (hence the title of the first CD "Wes Side Stories"!), Gilles Clement plays with his thumb in much the same way as Wes did. This new CD has much of the feel of those early Wes/Mel Rhyne outings about it.
Bruno Anastasi - Ars Gratia Artis Website October 1999
Studying the masterpieces recorded in the Sixties by Grant Green with Baby Face Willette and Larry Young, Gilles Clément seems to have perfectly learnt the lessons of the great Blue Note guitarist. The guitar-organ-drums trio format, sort of an "evergreen classic", is an excellent expressive medium for Clément's darting phrasing and for the sensitive interplay between the leader and two superb partners (Philippe Petit - Hammond B3; Eric Dervieu - drums). The material is original, all written by Gilles except for two standards, and offers to the listener solid arrangements and lovely melodies. Recorded in Paris, Woody is one of the brightest productions of the dynamic String Jazz Recordings.
Jim Hilmar - Vintage Guitar March 1999
String Jazz Recordings specialise in jazz guitar music, in particular European jazz guitar in the gypsy jazz, bebop and fusion styles. They have a number of fine CDs and several major recording projects planned for '99. Two recent releases caught my ear. French player Gilles Clement and his trio really shine on "Woody" (SJRCD1001). This ten track CD features interesting compositions/arrangements (eight written by Clement) and some very strong playing. Gilles has a clear tone and a very appealing bubbling/melodic style not unlike early Pat Martino.
He very effectively moves each song along without overplaying. And he gets some strong support from Philippe Petit (B3 organ) and Eric Dervieu (drums). My faves on this one include "The Wrong Blues" (a great opening number with very fine melodic solo work from Gilles), "Pauline's Mambo" (very catchy), "Dreamsville" ( a super cover of one of my favourite Mancini tunes - nice tone and fine playing - love the B3 bass pedals), "The Breeze and I" (short but sweet treatment with great subtle drum and organ comping and terrific solo work from Gilles), "Max Waltz" (very tasty with more impressive guitar improv), "Woody" (bebop flavoured and cool) and "A Vos Marc" (a solid groove number with some cookin' solo work.
Andy MacKenzie- Just Jazz Guitar February 1998
The classic Hammond organ trio, so evocative of the sixties, shows no sign of becoming old fashioned as most modern players weaned on Wes and Martino have a yearning to play in this most supportive of lineups. Here, Frenchman Gilles Clement leads a trio through a selection of self-composed tunes and a couple of standards to deliver an album that could have been recorded at any time during the last 40 years. This is not to criticise, just to emphasise that this is the real thing - straight ahead jazz guitar, simmering Hammond and supportive drumming.
The blues is never far away from Gilles' phrasing, and the first track, "The Wrong Blues", skips in with tight boppish unisons with the organ before settling into a 12-bar workout. Other highlights include "The Breeze and I", taken at a storming pace, demonstrating Clement's Martino influenced chops, and "Rue de la Sorce", the only track to feature tenor saxophonist Pascal Gaubert, showcase the guitarist's melodic compositional style and impressive soloing.
A debut release from Chris Burden's English label, this should help establish String Jazz Records as a label delivering top quality European jazz guitar.
Jim Fisch - 20th Century Guitar October 1998
Gilles Clement and his trio-mates Philippe Petit (Hammond B3) and Eric Dervieu (drums) dish up some crackling funk on WOODY that sits squarely in the Jimmy Smith/Kenny Burrell tradition and is laid right out in the opening number, "The Wrong Blues".
The trio is tight, with a razor sharp sense of dynamics that allows them to squeeze the maximum from the leader's compositions like "Enrico" and "Rue de la Source". In addition, they pursue a mellow groove on Henry Mancini's "Dreamsville" as well as blowing through the normally placid changes of "The Breeze and I" with gale force.
I don't expect they know much about fat backs and chitlins in France, but this release sure makes you wonder what they put in the foie-gras. It's Franco-funky!
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