Alexis Valet | Following the Sun Review


Alexis Valet | Following the Sun Review

by Darnell Jackson

Alexis-Valet-5-Finger-Review-CDFor contemporary jazz fans, Alexis Valet’s Following the Sun stands out with its musical and geographical influences. Released by Jazz & People in 2024, this album intricately combines the nuanced sophistication of European jazz with the vibrant dynamism of American styles, positioning Valet as a compelling bridge between these rich traditions.

From the outset, Following the Sun is framed as a journey, with Valet traversing from Parisian jazz clubs to the bustling streets of New York City. This physical journey mirrors the musical one, where Valet’s vibraphone—a resonant emblem of European jazz—meets the American jazz lexicon of swing, groove, and improvisation. The album kicks off with “Ups and Downs,” capturing the rhythmic pulse and unpredictable energy of New York City, setting the stage for a diverse exploration of jazz methodologies.

Through tracks like “June,” “Following the Sun,” “Cypher,” and “Myrtle,” Valet embraces American jazz elements as he reinterprets them through a European lens. These pieces use funk, modern jazz, swing, and the structure of a hip-hop cypher to showcase a fusion that is both respectful of tradition and daring in its execution. Valet’s ability to create a musical dialogue that embraces many styles and cultural influences brings a fresh perspective to the established contemporary jazz scene.

The album’s emotional depth is most palpable in “Laika,” where Valet delves into a more introspective theme. TheAlexis-Valet-1 track is an elegy to the famed canine astronaut, blending melancholy with a sense of historical reflection, emblematic of Valet’s more profound engagement with his musical subjects. Each composition builds upon the last, creating a narrative arc reflecting Valet’s personal growth and expanding musical repertoire during his stay in New York.

As the album concludes with “Myrtle,” a vibrant ode to the straight-ahead jazz tradition, it’s clear that Following the Sun is a well-crafted story of artistic evolution and cultural exchange. Valet’s literal and musical journey adds a significant chapter to the narrative of contemporary jazz, marked by a synthesis of styles that enriches the genre’s global dialogue.

Alexis-Valet-2Following the Sun is a well-crafted album that showcases his virtuosity as a vibraphonist and his profound ability to connect different jazz cultures. It’s an essential listen for those who appreciate jazz as a dynamic and evolving art form, offering a melodious exploration of the rich interplay between American vibrancy and European sophistication.

5 Finger gives a review of 86

Following the Sun

Release Date: April 19, 2024

Label: Jazz & People

About the author

Darnell Jackson

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