Carl Clements – A Different Light (ENG review)

Greydisc Records – Street date May 23th 2024
Carl Clements - A Different Light (ENG review)

Carl Clements is a saxophonist and flutist, which likely leads him to prefer high notes for melodies on this album. Besides his personal performances, you may have encountered him alongside Kevin Kastning, Sándor Szabó, Luciana Souza, Steven Kirby, Felipe Salles, Luis Perdomo, Earl MacDonald, Dominique Eade, Steve Davis, Steve Johns, Dafnis Prieto, Edsel Gomez, Gary Smulyan, Ralph Alessi, Ravi Coltrane, Jason Robinson, Bob Weiner, Willard Dyson, George Schuller, John Lockwood, James Newton, Luques Curtis, Jean-Yves Jung, Russ Spiegel, Ranjit Barot, Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani, Loy Mendonsa, Louiz Banks, Gino Banks, Ed Byrne, Charlie Haden, Natraj, and many other artists.

On this new album, the lineup includes: Carl Clements on tenor and soprano saxophones, bansuri; Chase Morrin on piano; Bruno Råberg on bass; Gen Yoshimura on drums—musicians who balance perfectly throughout this CD, conveying influences of world music without distinctly identifying their roots.

Undoubtedly, the artist here aims to immerse us in his universe, sometimes with a touch of mysticism, but it’s a friendly sonic experience to which we are invited. So, we pause, we listen, we dream, and we let ourselves be carried away, in a form of jazz-fusion with a hint of Hinduism, far from what was known in the 70s/80s. Here, Carl Clements plunges us into modern jazz-fusion with compositions reflecting his own image, without seeking to please but rendering the album timeless in its acoustic mode.

Carl’s recordings include two albums featuring his original compositions for jazz quartet, “A Different Light” (2023) and “Forth and Back” (2004); nine CDs with guitarist Kevin Kastning (including three in trio with Sándor Szabó); four CDs with the eclectic jazz group Crosscurrent; and many others. He is also featured on the Global Music Award-winning album “Time Travel” by the Indica Project.

One thing is certain: Carl Clements – A Different Light, apart from his talents as a musician, is also a very inspired composer. The arrangements on this album prove it; everything here is done with lightness and intelligence. Across the 9 diverse tracks of “A Different Light,” the musician seems to paint us a novel drawn from his travels and encounters, as the way he manages the instruments in his compositions sometimes reminds me of the brilliant Joe Zawinul, especially when the latter performed accompanying other artists on the piano, allowing space for each while imposing his style. Clements does exactly the same thing, not with his instruments, but with his compositions, which are sometimes dauntingly complex yet always very aesthetic.

I would struggle to pigeonhole “A Different Light” into a too defined category, but with each listen, this album has become “Indispensable,” and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, May 1st 2024

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