French saxophonist Laurent Bardainne’s absolutely cracking new long-player is chock full of warmth and easy-going themes – no surprise given its title, Hymn To The Sun. I’m unsure if there’s any link to Lili Boulanger’s 1912 composition of the same name, but what is apparent is the love and attention lavished on these grooves by Bardainne and his band of cohorts.
Oh Yeah opens up with a sugar-sweet refrain: one of those tunes that instantly sounds like a standard. Bardainne blowing contentedly over the drums and bass, cares driven away, summer sun flooding in with the backing vocalists – life’s a dream after all, right?
Adieu My Lord drops the tempo for another soulful swing through laid-back pastures: lazing in hammocks, summer lawns, good times. In other words a huge dollop of much-needed sustenance as January wends its weary way out the door. The players are relaxed, the beats ticklish, the vibe is wholesome and optimistic: the religious title of the cut perhaps signalling introspection, peacefulness – all this must pass. Amen amigos.
Jou en Nou Rive (The Day Will Come) sees Celia Wa step up for vocal duties: again, even without grasping the French, the feeling is one of love and happiness, music as healer, way out there far from the stresses and strains of the shitty stick we like to call end-stage capitalism. There is a better way and Bardainne and crew can help take you there. All aboard the freedom train – this is what music can do – lift you up, help you out, smooth out the creases of existence.
Kenya Sunrise ends up back at the beginning: a homage to humanity’s birthplace, the foundational rock from which we flung ourselves recklessly across the planet. Understated and all the more powerful for it, a lovely coda to a beautiful album. If you’re in need of warmth, of wonder, of musical wisdom give this album a spin or two: it`s all here, dope as hell and funkier than a million mosquitoes’ tweeters. Bravo monsieur Bardainne: c’est magnifique!
Laurent Bardainne & Tigre D’eau Douce`s Hymne Au Soleil is out now, on Heavenly Sweetness.