Lively French Trio Demands, "Listen to Me!"
The cover photo of a child playing on a beach is apropos for Sébastien Paindestre Trio's latest record, Ecoutez Moi (Listen to Me). Starting in the mid-1900s, American jazz musicians traveling to Europe discovered audiences which were larger, more hospitable, more enthusiastic and more open-minded than back home. At times it seems as if the spirit of jazz was left behind when the musicians returned to the United States. The Sébastien Paindestre Trio exhibits a lightness and youthful spontaneity sadly lacking in many American counterparts.
Paindestre is a respected pianist, composer, teacher and concert promoter in Malakoff (La Fabrica'son, France, near Paris). He started piano lessons at 15 years-old and graduated to formal classical study in just two short years. Within the next four years of training, he transitioned completely to jazz and has since played with dozens of France's greatest jazzmen. Paindestre's experiences include composing and conducting children's music, accompanying contemporary dance and co-founding the Normandy Jazz Festival. While a regular member of the immensely popular Now Blues Quartet since 2000, as well as a successful musical theater tour, Paindestre began leading his own trio in 2001. Needless to say, he is accustomed to wearing many hats.
Ecoutez Moi is an enjoyable piano trio record, more stylish than sophisticated. The advanced level of creative interplay between Paindestre, drummer Antoine Paganotti, and bass player Jean-Claude Oleksiak is equal to many historic recordings. As with many trio sessions, listeners may occasionally wish for a brass or woodwind lead voice, but much of Ecoutez Moi is believably self-contained. None of these compositions will set the world on fire, but the performances are accomplished and full of old-world charm. Jazz fans (in America or elsewhere) unfamiliar with the Sébastien Paindestre Trio are well advised to "Listen to them".
-David Seymour is a freelance jazz journalist in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA