So the title is a bit fromagey and the label is Paris based but this is definitely a US band. Okay the bassist Omer Avital is Israeli but he’s been in New York for more than a quarter of a century. Pianist Aaron Goldberg is from Boston and drummer Ali Jackson is from a Detroit family.
Although individually they have played with some great players, I have to confess the members of the trio are new to me. The names dropped that they have worked with include Wynton Marsalis, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Joshua Redman. Collectively this is their second album and Yes! is a good name for the trio. The music is immediately engaging and swings in a proper jazz way. If that sounds backwards-looking then think again – this is fresh and invigorating with a range of material from their own to a couple of standards.
What is obvious from the start is the quality of each of their playing and the relaxed but precise nature of their collective sound. ‘Escalier’ dives right into a funky groove set up first by the piano with the melody being carried by the bass and then all three swap around while keeping the funk going before Goldberg solos extensively and lucidly.
Goldberg picks it up again on ‘C’est Clair’, with a slow start turning into stating a lovely tune with a bluesy underpinning. ‘Dr. Jackle’ (the Jackie McLean tune which he recorded with Miles) as you might expect is hotter stuff with Goldberg again stating the boppish tune with Jackson accenting at first. Nice solid and rounded solo from Avital on bass. Finishes with piano and drums in synch.
‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ is the other standard here (the rest of the tunes are by the various members of the band) and is taken at a stately pace with Avital taking the melody nicely in his solo. ‘Muhammad’s Market’ is also boppishly pacey with a funky head reminiscent of some of those classic 60s tunes like Work Song (but without the Adderley sax of course!).
‘Claqué’ is in similar territory, at a slower pace, but sticking with the drive and funky feel. Avital leads off ‘Tokyo Dream’ on bass quite high in the register, setting up further funky opportunities before Goldberg picks it up and later Jackson solos before the end.
The title track, ‘Groove du Jour’, has a nice theme with a mid-tempo walking underpinning. Goldberg’s piano (well recorded like the rest of the album) kicks ‘Flow’ off with full left hand. Avital solos fluidly on this one. We are solidly in New York on the final track ‘Bed-Stuy’ which takes it out still swinging.
As it turns out the Groove du Jour title is actually very accurate. Smart and sassy jazz of the very highest quality. Up to the minute and, while containing recognisable links to the canon, with some fresh new tunes.