It's almost incongruous to write about Emile Parisien's Original Pimpant, considering the importance of its collective dimension. This is not only about the soprano saxophonist's quartet. Parisien—young prodigy, pupil and proof of the good reputation of France's Marciac jazz school—is not looking for individual recognition here. His is a distinctive approach that's about a collective construction of music; about bringing the purpose of music together, a bit like a theater company writing, staging and performing together.
French saxophonist Émile Parisien, instigator of some of the most musical, formidably skilful yet wackily diverting adventures in recent European jazz, makes a rare UK visit in a duo at November’s London jazz festival, but this exuberant album rams home the full Parisien experience, with a new quintet, regular accordion partner Vincent Peirani, and two revered European elder statesmen in German pianist Joachim Kühn and French bass clarinet original Michel Portal. From the opening vibrato-trembling soprano sax Préambule (Parisien can be a spiky avantist, but he’s a devoted Sidney Bechet admirer, too), through the hard-swinging Poulp – which sounds like the work of a 21st-century Hot Club band with Ornette Coleman leanings – through the contemporary-noir doom-walk of Brainmachine or the accordion-throbbing Umckaloabo, Parisien leads an exhilarating genre-hop bubbling with captivating remakes of US and European jazz traditions.
Emile Parisien this year received the prestigious French jazz award Victoires du Jazz as "musician of the year" and in 2012 won the Prix Django Reinhardt . Such accolades are evidence of a supreme talent, now given an international platform by ACT. The saxophonist has appeared on ACT once before, in the Duo Series alongside Vincent Peirani, but his Quartet is a different beast altogether, honed over the course of three albums into a tightly cohesive unit which enables the musicians to tackle the abstract time signatures and swift changes with consummate ease.
Alongside and thanks to his ACT colleague Youn Sun Nah – who took him with her on her tour of France and into the studio band for her album "Same Girl"– the 33 year-old accordionist Vincent Peirani is undisputedly the French shooting star of the last two years. The French Jazz Magazine named him Artist of the Year 2013 for the wealth of variety, technical top-difficulties and percussive inventiveness that the Nice-born Parisian enticed out of his accordions on his so aptly entitled ACT debut album "Thrill Box". The jury of the Academie du Jazz honoured him with the coveted "Prix Django Reinhardt" award almost simultaneously.