Pays : Québec Label : Indépendant Genres et styles : Modern Jazz Année : 2024

Jeremy Leon – Affinity

· par Varun Swarup

Affinity, the first offering from saxophonist Jeremy Leon, sees the young Montrealer staking his claim as a new voice in the world of modern jazz. From the heralding opening number, The Coronation of Prince Dennis”, Leon captivates with an esoteric and grave tone that draws parallels to legendary saxophonists like Coltrane, Brecker, and Kenny Garrett. And while his tone pays homage to the giants who paved the way, his compositions reveal a broader musical vision and a vivid knack for arrangement.

Though occasionally cryptic in their titles and challenging in their rhythmic structures, these 8 compositions possess an undeniable allure. The listener is taken on a journey through intricate musical landscapes that demand attention and engagement, and is rewarded with a satisfying sense of catharsis by the end. There is equally nice variety in the tunes Leon has put forward, and I particularly liked “Surrey”, “Isaiah”, and “To the Lighthouse”, leaning on the more plaintive and soulful side of things. 

The quintet of Emmanuelle Sloutsker on piano, Sam Lechasseur on guitar, Ben Boardman on bass, Paulo Max Riccardo on drums, under Leon’s helm, navigates through these sonic mazes with grace and finesse, always keeping the fire alive enough to guide the listener through the darkness. Certainly this album’s strength lies ultimately in the synergy, or affinity, that exists between each member. Leon has evidently put together a band where trust and communication take priority. It certainly sounds as such, and drummer Paulo Riccardo especially displays exquisite musicianship in his dynamism and responsiveness to the many twists and turns the band take. Kudos to Jeremy for putting out a record that not only already displays technical mastery but also a willingness to explore, to experiment, and to enjoy. 

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