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Debora Seffer (France) - 2004 - "Debora Seffer"
TRACK LIST: 1. Comme je Veux Comme je Crois 4:48 2. Ketu 5:40 3. Agne 3:50 4. Die-re-choc-ide 3:26 5. Sur Mesure 4:52 6. Une Femme Elegante 3:58 7. La Comete 4:30 8. Electro-choc 3:50 9. Mendi 3:45 All tracks: by Seffer. LINE-UP: Debora Seffer - electric violin; vocals Jean-My Truong (Zao) - drums Francois Causse - percussion Laurent Souques - contrabass Thierry Mallard - electric piano; programming With: Louis Winsberg - guitar (on 9) Produced by D Lockwood (>Zao). Engineered by M Haliday.
Prolusion. Debora SEFFER is the daughter of Zao's former saxophonist Yochko Seffer and is of a mixed Franco-Hungarian heritage. In France, she has been considered a violin virtuoso and a remarkable Jazz-Fusion composer since the beginning of the '90s. However, this album is definitely her debut. It features the other two former members of Zao: drummer Jean-My Truong and violinist Didier Lockwood, who appears as a producer.
Synopsis. This album is of a unified stylistic concept, and the music is the living essence of Jazz Rock, Jazz-Fusion and Hungarian Folk with peripheral modern and symphonic tendencies. Six out of the nine tracks are songs with lyrics in French, and each of the three instrumental pieces: Ketu, La Comete, and Electro-choc features Debora's vocalizations. While being probably more diverse and intricate than the songs, these (the first two of these, to be precise) are, however, a bit less original, which is because their sound a bit resembles Return To Forever on their eponymous effort, and the electric piano passages remind me of those by Chick Corea, in particular. The songs are more unique, and the main features securing the album's originality are the mistress's vocals and elements of Hungarian folk music, bravely inserted by her into traditional Jazz-Fusion textures. Not counting a male narration in Hungarian on the fourth composition, all the Hungarian folk colorings, some of which have Oriental shades in their palette, are provided by the parts of violin. They are present on each of the tracks, but are especially widespread on La Comete, Une Femme Elegante, Die-re-choc-ide, Agne, and Mendi (7, 6, 4, 3, & 9 respectively). The last two of these consist of dramatic and beautiful, slowly developing musical events, while the other compositions are for the most part light, tight and intensive all simultaneously. Melodic structures blended with odd ones, excellent musicianship, and exalted romanticism define the general sound, but it's Debora's assured and sensible mastery of playing the violin that is especially breathtaking. So when there are less violin passages, and on the other hand are rather many sounds of a drum machine going alongside the beats of acoustic drums, as on Sur Mesure, for instance, it results in a more pronounced modern and electronic sound. Apart from those of the other instruments, Mendi features a lot of solos of acoustic guitar that, in combination with violin passages, give the piece a pleasant warm sounding. Along with Die-re-choc-ide, Une Femme Elegante, La Comete, and Electro-choc, the last track formed the most impressive contents of this show.
Conclusion. Unlike Art-Rock, let alone Prog-Metal, Jazz-Fusion is not a field that albums with vocals would grow up in like trees in a garden. From this point, Debora Seffer's debut is more than a welcome event, especially since the music remains rather profound in most cases. Although the brevity of the tracks has primordially excluded any opportunity to build large-scaled instrumental arrangements, the lack of such is probably the only flaw of this effort. In any case, there will hardly be someone disappointed with the album among the Jazz Rock and Jazz-Fusion lovers, for whom it is destined above all.
VM: August 23, 2004
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