Sometimes one decides to spin a record for mere entertainment or curiosity – minus the reviewer’s obligations, even if the item is part of a promotional package – only to discover a little gem that inevitably requires to be discussed in writing in spite of the “worst” intentions. Such is the case of Hymnes À L’Amour.
Until now, French saxophonist Christophe Monniot and Basque accordionist Didier Ithursarry were perfect strangers in this house. However, from the very beginning of the first track “Biguine Pour Sushi” I realized that two high-level instrumentalists were gently knocking at my attention’s door, regardless of a lack of knowledge about their curriculum vitae, repertoire and diversity of genres dealt with. Indeed the duo’s music is extremely rich in enchanting habitats defined by nostalgic moods, creative renditions of evergreens such as “Sophisticated Lady” and harmonic openings definitely less volatile than those of a simple song. For example, Monniot’s “Nadir’s”, whose mysterious sinuosities are instantiated by finely woven contrapuntal courses.
In several decades of attentive listening I have learned not to take anything for granted. In the midst of thousands of discs containing extreme, hypnotic, brutal, obvious or easily memorized sounds, a meeting with pure-soul artists like Monniot and Ithursarry represents the kind of reward which keeps this writer searching for precious talents across the infinite gamuts of instrumental expression. Radicalism is not the lone means to satisfy a trained audience.