Gregory Privat Trio – Phoenix (ENG review)

Buddham Jazz - Available
Gregory Privat

Let’s be clear, this album is a true musical gem, unfortunately spoiled by Gregory Privat’s voice, which clearly is not that of a singer. We would have preferred to hear an artist like Yann Clery on a project of this caliber, who is one of the most talented of his generation, equally skilled in singing, playing the flute, and rhythm. Alternatively, an excellent singer like Annabelle Bellombre would have been a great choice. Gregory Privat, on the other hand, stands out as a highly accomplished composer and pianist. His trio includes our friend Chris Jennings on double bass, who once again works wonders on the tracks of this album, and the excellent drummer Tilo Bertholo. Gregory has a deep sense of melody, while Chris Jennings excels in composition and arrangements. The proposals made by the musicians on this recording are remarkable.
Born in Martinique in December 1984, Gregory Privat is the son of pianist José Privat, known for his participation in the internationally recognized Caribbean group, Malavoi. Attracted to the piano from a young age, Gregory began taking private lessons at the age of six. He devoted 10 years to classical training before turning to improvisation techniques and jazz.
After a stint with the German label ACT in 2015, where he played piano on Lars Danielsson’s album “Liberetto,” and two other albums, “Family Tree” with his first trio (Tilo Bertholo on drums and Linley Marthe on bass) was released on the prestigious label in October 2016. Time passed, and Gregory desired freedom, resulting in the formation of this trio. He also created his own label, Buddham Jazz, and produced and recorded the album “Soley” in 2020 with Chris Jennings on bass and Tilo Bertholo on drums. From my point of view, this is the most accomplished album in terms of composition, arrangements, and instrumental performance that the pianist has delivered. I patiently awaited the reviews from French jazz magazines, most of which are merely sponsored articles with questionable objectivity, often awarding accolades to undeserving projects. As a result, we often miss the objectivity that every journalist should possess.
This is the case here with an album that stands out musically but falls flat in terms of vocals. It must be said that this type of sanitized voice is the only thing that intellectually inclined productions have been able to come up with since the early 2000s. When we see what Canadian or American jazz artists are able to produce by adding vocal parts, we realize that this project falls far behind. In our opinion, the album is a personal favorite and would have greatly benefited from a true vocalist, making it an indispensable piece in our eyes.
However, if this trio continues on this path without letting Gregory sing, they have the potential to become a group as important as E.S.T. These three musicians are among the greatest European/ Canadian artists of our time, and you will easily notice this by focusing on the musical parts of this album, which are fortunately numerous, diverse, and often exciting. The strength of the compositions and arrangements is truly impressive. We will eagerly await their next album, on which, just like this one, we will pay close attention.

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

PARIS-MOVE, February 18th 2024


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