The Rongetz Foundation ‘Kiss Kiss Double Jab’ (Heavenly Sweetness) 4/5

the-rongetz-foundation‘Kiss Kiss Double Jab’ is the latest creation from New York based ‘Rongetz Foundation’ formed and driven by Stephane Ronget, a French trumpeter and Producer. Ronget has had various successful crossover bands previously, and with the Rongetz Foundation has strived for a live sound whilst combining Jazz, hip-hop and soul. He achieves this by collaborating with various artists, for example, his last album ‘Brooklyn butterfly sessions’ saw him collaborate with Gregory Porter. For his newest release ‘Kiss Kiss Double bang’ he teams up with big-league jazzers, saxophonist Garry Bartz, and trombonist Steve Turre. The result is a vibrant and stylish blend of sounds incorporating a host of memorable licks, eclectic rhythms, and vocals that ooze with charisma, courtesy of the charismatic ‘Lilli Cooper’ who was ‘discovered’ whilst singing in Broadway.
The album kicks off with the first track, ‘Hip Hop Muse.’ The slow, yet heavy attack that Luques Curtis applies on the double bass initiates a cool kind of swagger that continues throughout the rest of the album. In fact, every musician on the record seems to be in the same mindset, hell bent on delivering a consistent stream of sleek and sassy attitude from start to finish. This tune shows a teaming up of vocals and sax, with Cooper and Bartz playing the main melody in unison. This reinforcement of the main tune makes it very catchy, and is guaranteed to be playing in your head hours after listening to it.
The title track ‘Kiss Kiss Double Jab’ shows Bartz delivering another killer horn line which contrast with Frank Locrasto’s subtle keys perfectly. This is a song about the revenge of a woman scorned, well expressed with Cooper’s passive aggressive vocals, all the while restrained beautifully with the cool, laid-back groove from Locrasto.
Poet, Sonia Sanchez, features on a few of the tracks, with mainly spoken word. ‘Where are you this morning Jazz?’ is one of these tracks and also features Monnette Sudler on guitar, in what feels like a duet between her and Sanchez.
‘Cab Samba’ starts off with a Brazilian style percussive solo which sets the tone for the rhythm section, whilst the horns and the vocals team up in unison again, in what is perhaps the main track that Lilli Cooper’s roots in Broadway are more apparent. What I found fascinating throughout the album with the two vocalists, is that there is over a fifty year age gap between them, yet they both have this chic and sassy presence they bring to the music. I love it!
This is a brilliant and sophisticated album that should attract Jazz lovers of all different tastes. It has elements of the traditional and the contemporary. Nice one Ronget!

Lindsey Evans