Film review

Émile Parisien and Vincent Peirani – ‘Live in Paris’ (2020 EFG LJF)

Émile Parisien and Vincent Peirani – Live in Paris
(Youtube film premiere, 17 November 2020. EFG London Jazz Festival. Review* by Jon Turney)

Émile Parisien and Vincent Peirani (Screenshot)


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Say more (Ed)

Hell yeah.

Not really helping.

I mean, this was just astonishing

In what way, though?

The intensity these guys maintain for 30 minutes. The virtuosity. The rapport.

Do feel free to describe the music.

Bored of that. Too hard. Words always fail.

Try – It’s why we’re here

Ah well, from my notebook (easier to make notes on a livestream than at a concert in the dark, anyhow):

The combination of soprano sax, Emile Parisien showing more than a touch of Bechet, and Vincent Peirani’s accordion is magnificently European. These are sounds from a dream, heard in the Parisian cafe of some unrealisable fantasy, brought to life.

There’s tango too, of course – all four tunes they play at this gig in Paris come from their recent recording, Abrazo, dedicated to tango and its composers (REVIEW). This music is a never-ending dance for two.

After who knows how many concerts together, the duo achieve a level of conversational eloquence we’d all love to achieve in speech, but never do. They both play with great rhythmic freedom, within tight structures, and improvise together in that seamless flow where it feels time is suspended. There’s an intoxicating feeling of abandon. That, and the emotional range they can achieve melding the single lines from the soprano with the richer textures of the accordion, is transfixing from start to finish. When you are moved to applaud a video, you know something special just happened. If you don’t love this, you’re probably dead.

And the video?

Is pretty good too. And well produced. The countdown to the premiere managed to create a sense of occasion, even though this was a youtube substitute for the London visit we may still hope to see. The cameras get up close and personal, and you feel almost part of the performance, rather than the audience. Not as good as seeing them in the flesh, but pretty damn close.

A last word?

Just watch it! Then watch it again. I did.

 * Alison Bentley reviews Parisien and Peirani’s recent CD release (properly!)  HERE.

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