Antoine Fafard – Ad Perpetuum (2014)

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I’ve been listening to Antoine Fafard’s latest release Ad Perpetuum for a while, and I keep findings pearls of amazement in each listening. My first impression was that Fafard is an excellent jazz composer. That impression was supported by all the tracks and their inventive and diverse song structures.

Antoine Fafard composed several tracks on classical guitar, thus creating a very wide sonic palette. Ad Perpetuum features tracks which effortlessly float from time signature to time signature, in the same song. Yet the tracks hold together as cohesive pieces. Furthermore Fafard’s writing is balanced, presenting his small group in a tight package for the listener yet allowing ample space for the soloist.

The lead-off track “Shuffelt!” is a great example of his writing and arranging prowess. “Poly Seven” turns up the heat even more, as Fafard’s bass is locked in an opening groove with guest keyboardist Gerry Etkins and guitarist Jerry De Villiers Jr. The result is a strong push-off into a fantastic groove, punctuated by expressive solos on keyboards and a fanciful drum bass interlude. Obviously, Fafard is a ultra-talented bass player yet “Shuffelt!” brings his arranging and production talent to the forefront.

Ad Perpetuum has something for every fan of jazz fusion. “Five Course Meal” may slow things down slightly, but does not skimp on the intensity. Guitarist De Villiers Jr. funks things just right, while Fafard provides an aggressive yet economical solo which builds in intensity and difficulty. De Villiers Jr. responds to the challenge, then drummer Vinnie Colaiuta gets in the act with his response.
I would be remiss if I did not mention Colaiuta’s contribution to the project, playing on every track and seamlessly engaging Fafard’s bass at every turn. Interestingly, Colaiuta drums were overdubbed, not recorded live and were produced by jazz legend, Jimmy Haslip. Their studio magic blends perfectly with Antoine Fafard’s.

The track “D-Day” is another example of Fafard’s composing and production acumen. His rhythm track is challenging and sonically pleasing, plus drummer Gary Husband is used in a double drumming meet up with Colaiuta. The outcome is smashing, and provides a perfect platform for saxophonist Jean-Pierre Zanella. It all adds up to a wonderfully diverse piece of jazz-fusion art, and one which will garner multiple listens for anyone attempting to unlock its sonic secrets.

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier
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