Back in the day, French pianist, composer and all-round jazz superstar Jean-François Quiévreux, a.k.a. Jef Gilson, was up there alongside the likes of peers John Coltrane, Oscar Peterson, and Sun Ra. In a fitting homage to the decades worth of sublime music, and his sad passing away in 2012, French quarter Palm Unit have released a lively, honest tribute, upbeat and contemporary re-interpretative vision of his legacy.
Gilson has been noted for changing the face of bebop with free-jazz and afro. Along the way his big band featured the likes of Lloyd Miler, Bill Coleman, Michel Portal, and others. With his own recording studio and label Palm Records, Gilson released music from greats including Byard Lancaster, David S. Ware, François Jeanneau, and more. He also helped embed a more entho style to the world of jazz, inspired by his visits to Madagascar, which resulted in the famous Malagasy jazz albums.
Palm Unit are a wildly eclectic super-group of jazz greats includes uKanDanZ's saxophonist Lionel Martin, keyboardist Fred Escoffier from Le Sacre du Tympan, drummer Philippe 'Pipon' Garcia whose mostly known from his worth with the Erik Truffaz Quartet, and special guest Del Rabenja -- who played alongside Gilson in Malagasy -- on the Magascan valiha harp. Palm Unit plays Gilson’s repertoire without any a priori, in a totally complex-free manner, reinventing it whilst preserving its original essence. The keyboards sound almost psychedelic (and often not that far from the style of Eddy Louiss on Jef Gilson’s 60’s albums), the sax scratches, mews and wails, whilst the drums make the whole thing swing. Even Del Rabenja was surprised to rediscover the songs still sounding so modern, decades after they were created.
Super-Sonic Jazz Label Bio
Named after the Sun Ra's acclaimed record from 1956, Super-Sonic Jazz is the label and event series run by Dutchman Kees Heus, a.k.a. KC The Funkaholic. Having already established Super-Sonic Jazz as one the leading nights for jazz, soul, African grooves and more at Amsterdam club Paradiso, it was inevitable Heus would take the next step, in releasing music to share with the community. To date, Super-Sonic Jazz has played host to a plethora of talents from across the world, with hip-swaggering style, and electronic-meets- rhythmic, soulful grooves. If you wanted to see Moses Sumney, Moses Boyd, or the Robert Glasper Experiment, then Paradiso is the place to be.
Prior to Super-Sonic Jazz, Heus was responsible for Kindred Spirits, the Paradiso night and Rush Hour distributed label that specialised in unearthing and sharing the wildest bohemian talents from the Netherlands -- including the likes of Jameszoo, Gallowstreet, Jungle By Night, Rednose Distrikt, and Kid Sublime -- along with records by cult international talents, and a select bunch of sought-after re-issues. Kindred Spirits became the global seal of approval for anything that was authentic, soulful, and slamming, and serves as the perfect platform for what Super-Sonic Jazz has, and will become.
Referring back to Sun Ra, who was responsible for the record from which the label is named after, Heus states; "His music and philosophy is a big inspiration, always pushing the boundaries of music." This philosophy is something constantly running through Super-Sonic Jazz. From the eclectic output, and styles, to the attention to detail and love for honesty, and love for the music, Super-Sonic Jazz is a true testament to one of The Netherlands most discerning of selectors. With select classic, epochal, and era-defining re-issues, to new and progressive, soul and jazz cuts primed for the modern listener, Super-Sonic Jazz is a true taste-maker's label.