Michel Donato
et ses amis Européens / and His European Friends

Effendi Records • FND050

Lucid Players
by David Fujino
July 2006

Compatability ... virtuosity ... concept ... taste.

Words can describe, in some way, the nine tracks laid down by bassist Michel Donato and friends.

"Open Closer" is a syncopated, off-kilter melody line that's underpinned by a walking bass and swishing brushes. I was reminded of Eric Dolphy's classic Out to Lunch recording. Here there's a similar post-Bop sound and a sense of looking forward to the future. Guitarist Michael Felberbaum solos with generous amounts of silence between notes, while trumpeter Piote Wojtasik responds with a sound and use of space that is positively Milesian. Tenor saxophonist François Théberge, for his part, investigates tones and registers in a calm and centred manner. This first track ends conclusively (and somewhat surprisingly) with a rich consonant chord.

"Dog", by Michael Felberbaum, is a droll, humorous track in which a solitary dog takes a stroll through his neighbourhood in a slow, medium tempo. The soloists follow suit and effectively lag behind the beat of Donato's flexible yet emphatic bass line. This is one cool dog.

"Tremay", by the drummer Karl Jannuska, is a 5-note tribal chant. Felberbaum's rhythmically talkative guitar and Wojtasik's incisive trumpet play off the rich melodicism and strong beat of Donato. Drummer Jannuska then makes an interesting choice and equally emphasizes all the beats in a bar. Like his bandmates, Jannuska is very artful and compositional in how he plays with a tune's structure.

Compatability ... virtuosity ... concept ... taste.

Donato and his accomplished peers have delivered a music that is thoroughly modern and accessible, yet uncompromisingly personal.

Michel Donato – acoustic bass
Francois Théberge – tenor saxophone
Piote Wojtasik – trumpet
Michael Felberbaum – guitar
Karl Jannuska – drums
We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
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