Stephane Belmondo – The same as it never was before
(French Verve 2765226) CD review
This is an album which radiates that sense of well-being, of being happy with who one is. It’s a snapshot of where the fine French trumpeter Stephane Belmondo is in his life. He has a new child called Rita – ten months old at the time of recording – who makes an appearance on the album to say hello.
Belmondo has a couple of Paris-based collaborators on the album. There’s bassist Sylvain Romano , and one of that great line of Detroit pianists which includes Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan and Barry Harris….Kirk Lightsey. But there is also a special guest, who adds life and energy with every single creative tap on any part of the kit, the drummer Billy Hart, on simply stupendous form.
The album was recorded in La Buissonne studios in that lovely countryside east of Avignon, and the musicians and Hart in particular just seem to find themelves, and to stay right there in the enjoyment zone.
Belmondo plays trumpet and flugelhorn, with an open sound which to me brings back memories of Clifford Brown. He also plays shells and Malagasy flute, and double- tracks himself, and is just having the time of his life. I’ve been happily living with this album for a couple of weeks now. Pure pleasure.
Here’s a lengthier appraisal from allaboutjazz