Artist: Jean Caze
Release Date: December 2015
More than eight years after his coronation (1), trumpet virtuoso Amédé Jean Caze self-releases his second album that bears the eponym title "Amédé". He teamed up with top-
quality Kreyòl Jazz musicians to deliver an exquisite second album that was expected for
years now. Indeed, in one of our interviews, dated June 3, 2007, he was already talking
about this "Kreyòl Jazz project". The idea came as a result of his encounter with his fellows
Haitian jazz musicians.
In this sort of crusade toward his origins, the soothing and crystalline sound that
emanates from Caze's trumpet espouses traditional Haitian rhythms and walks down the
meanders of Konpa's tempos. The artist ventures into diversity with the production of some
awesome ballads that have more to do with world music. To a certain extent Caze himself is
reluctant to call the music on this album "Jazz". The target is obviously a larger audience.
But the improvisation factor is omnipresent throughout the ten tracks that populate the album.
The cast of twenty-five skillful musicians, the dazzling arrangements by the
trumpeter, excluding Amazing Grace (2), the originality of the approach; all of these converge
to mutate into a unique delivery of original colors that will please the listeners' ears.
This album contains ten great opuses. We will comment a few of them. Caze brings
to light the exceptional talent of Melanie Charles whose scat singing improvisation in unison
with Caze's solo on "Cherokee" embodies the spirit of the greatest jazz divas. Vocalist
Emeline Michel on "Gran Manjè" attack her line with a high energy that decreases and slides
to a pleasant dissonance supported by pianist Dave Siegel's subtle playing. Martine
Marseille's young voice on "Kè Kase" takes us on a love ballad that add a surprising diversity
to the album. Caze's electric grainy sound on a revisited "Lounge" is a delight on a funky
tapestry. The album closes on a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace, crafted around the
talent of keyboardist/pianist Mushy Widmaier.
Last not least, in the CD liner notes, Jean Caze thanks Policard and Widmaier for
taking him "down the path of discovering his Haitian roots". And…they are actively present
on some tracks. Therefore, this album fulfill a long time dream of meeting the other side of
the dual heritage we mentioned earlier. "Amédé" is a proud and engaged statement about a
certain direction Caze wants his music to go for now.
The choice of this very self-described title, far from expressing arrogance, elicits pride
to be part to this rich and diverse culture that have inspired so many artists and writers by its
wonders. As the essential of the musical envelop here may represent a western approach,
this opus remains anchored into the great tradition of the Haitian musical experience which
encompasses so many currents. It is a brilliant expression of the marvels of our rich and
eclectic culture. Thanks for touching our soul… Amédé!
1- 2nd Place at the 2007 International Thelonious Monk Competition
2- Arranged by Mushy Widmaier
Alphonse Piard, Jr. (ALPI)
January 15, 2016