All About Jazz
Lawrence Sieberth Quartet: An Evening In Paris
SEPTEMBER 14, 2020 | By: DAN MCCLENAGHAN
New Orleans-based pianist Lawrence Sieberth is a versatile music man—a bandleader, keyboard accompanist, composer, producer. A trip to Paris and a teaming with Parisian players resulted in An Evening In Paris, an atmospherically cohesive set that covers a wide range of styles.
The set of eight Sieberth originals opens with “August,” a tune that exudes the loveliest of straight ahead moods—deceptively, perhaps. There is a gentleness and delicacy to the sound initially, saxophonist Stephane Guillaume blowing cool, in a Stan Getz-ian mode. Sieberth’s piano is as lush and pretty as can be. Then the sax solo goes out there, in a nuanced way, to the edge. Then the theme resurfaces, and the intensity level cracks up, turning the tune into an anthem.
If the opener could be tagged mainstream, “The Phantom” moves over to a modern funk sound, dark and relentless, riding the rhythmic angularity of bassist Michel Benita and drummer Jeff Boudreaux. Out of this Sieberth lays down an eerie, crinkly solo that smooths out in an ominous groove, the quartet locked into each other’s musical mind sets. “La Valse Parisienne” has a melancholy, late night feel, featuring Guillaume’s smooth as silk soprano sax, while “A Melody’s Tale” brings a brighter, more hopeful feeling.
The compelling cover art—a man in a fashionable chapeau atop one of those early twentieth century bicycles with the impossibly big front wheels, about to eclipse the Eiffel Tower under a breakup of dark clouds—could fool you into thinking that an old timey music is at hand. But Sieberth’s artistry is anything but old timey, the prickly, driving “Kinetic #8” having twenty-first century written all over it, while “Lessons In The Fast Lane,” the set’s closer, opens with saxophonist Guillaume and pianist Siebert engaged in a wild chase down the freeway, before they go off road, picking their ways carefully over open fields of free jazz, skirting the boulder outcroppings and the gullies, as clouds gather and drummer Boudreaux rumbles out some thunder, until the freeway is achieved again, full speed ahead.
LAWRENCE SIEBERTH . An evening in Paris | Music Blöc
Lawrence Sieberth : piano
Stéphane Guillaume : saxophone
Michel Benita : contrebasse
Jeff Boudreaux : batterie
by: YVES DORISON
A la Nouvelle Orléans, son lieu de résidence, Lawrence Sieberth est bien connu. Cela ne l’a pas empêché de prendre l’avion pour retrouver un excellent batteur depuis longtemps expatrié et deux musiciens français haut de gamme, histoire de sortir de la routine. Bien lui en a pris car son disque est pétri de bonnes choses. Inventions mélodiques à la pelle, choix rythmiques judicieux, mélodies ciselées, de quoi faire un sans faute haut en couleurs, chaleureux et diablement créatif. Les morceaux s’enchaînent sans peine, quelle que soit l’ambiance mise en avant. Les improvisations sont en tout point épatantes et l’ensemble est inscrit dans une esthétique cohérente. Stéphane Guillaume, Michel Benita et Jeff Boudreaux ont poussé le pianiste louisianais à prendre des chemins de traverse qu’il n’avait peut-être pas imaginés et à s’exprimer différemment. Il s’en est sorti avec les honneurs et l’on peut affirmer que la rencontre fut fructueuse. Une belle surprise, pleine de richesses insoupçonnées, à écouter sans tarder.
Creative Music and other forms of Avant Garde
Lawrence Sieberth Quartet: An Evening In Paris
OCTOBER 29, 2020 | by: GEORGE W. HARRIS
Recorded in studio in France, this album has pianist Lawrence Sieberth in the simpatico atmosphere with Stephane Guillaume on soprano or tenor sax, bassist Michel Benita and Jeff Boudreaux on drums for eight sublime and pastel’d originals. Sieberth’s touch is elegant a la Bill Evans, tender to Guillaume’s tenor on “August” and elliptical with Benita’s bass on the funky “The Fantom”. The team ricochet’s on “Kinetic #8” like billiard balls on a Saturday night, while Boudrezux’s tympani’s rumble an exotic theme on “La Valse Parisienne”. Benita is given some space on the glassy “The Singing Bowl” with some strong post bop with Guillaume’s soprano leading the charge on “Lessons In The Fast Lane”. A rich blend of flavors.
Lawrence Sieberth quartet
Musik Blöc / Import USA
N 731 OCTOBRE 2020 | by: JULIEN FERRE
Nouveauté. Pour ce premier enregistrement in Paris (enfin presque, puisque c’est au desormais incontournable Studio de Meudon que ce disque a été gravé), ce pianiste néo-orléanais dont les premières traces discographiques remontent au mitan des années 1980 s’est offert us all stars: Stéphane Guilaume au saxophone, Michel Benita à la contrebasse et un “pays”, Jeff Boudreaus, à la batterie. Melodiste un rien romantique (A Melody’s Tale, August), Lawrence Sieberth est, racines musicales obligent, tenté par le groove (Kinetic #8, The Phantom), mais tout en restant au plus près d’une certaine idée de la douceur.
An Evening in Paris from pianist Lawrence Sieberth in stores today
SEPTEMBER 24, 2020 | by: JAY MAZZA
Lawrence Sieberth is one of those great musicians that all the other musicians know about. But unless you’re involved in the jazz scene in New Orleans, you probably don’t know about him or his music. That should change with the release of his latest quartet record, An Evening in Paris. It’s out today.
Sieberth is a veteran player on the local scene and has a vast number of national and international credits as a versatile keyboard accompanist, multifaceted composer, bandleader, producer and more. Jeff Coffin, the saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band, said, “Larry Sieberth is more than a great pianist, he is a great musician! I have known him for many years and have recorded with him, hung with him, and played gigs with him. His playing is legendary in New Orleans.”
His collaborations go back decades. He has performed and/or recorded with a who’s who of local players including the legendary Allen Toussaint, vocalist Johnny Adams, saxophonist Charles Neville, singer Irma Thomas, reedman Victor Goines, drummer/vibraphonist Jason Marsalis, vocalist Germaine Bazzle (featured in the above video) and hundreds of others.
The new album features all Sieberth originals, mostly new, brimming with melodic and rhythmic invention. He has a long history of playing and recording in France and this album, which delves deep into modern acoustic jazz, features the stellar French musicians Stephane Guillaume on tenor/soprano saxophones and Michel Benita on double bass, as well as longtime Paris-based expatriate and fellow Louisiana native Jeff Boudreaux on drums.
Off Beat Magazine
Lawrence Sieberth Quartet, An Evening In Paris (Musik Blöc)
AUGUST 27, 2020 | by: STACEY LEIGH BRIDEWELL
What do you do when you’ve mastered your craft? Picasso once said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” Just as Picasso spent his career reinventing his style to push the boundaries of his creativity, Larry Sieberth has kept himself vital by exploring the various facets of his musical identity. He established his command of Booker-style piano on the album New New Orleans; Arkipelago took jazz to the other side of the solar system; Heartstrings was an exploration of emotion via synth; Silhouettes brought that emotion back towards the acoustic; Estrella Banda explored Latin rhythm, and now with An Evening in Paris, Sieberth comes to a sort of equilibrium. He synergizes all of those explored facets and then takes them into a contemporary mode. The album ricochets between deep grooves, frantic rhythm, and tender thoughtfulness before volleying to the pandemonium of the final track. With incisive voicings, warm sax tones, and melodies that ache to speak to us in words, An Evening in Paris is just like and unlike anything Sieberth has done before.
Lawrence Sieberth Creates His Own European Quartet
The New Orleans pianist and composer is part of the new system
UPDATED FEBRUARY 2, 2021 | by: PHILIP BOOTH
Performing with others, for in-the-flesh listeners in real time, requires one to think like an architect, and like a psychologist too. That, at least, is how New Orleans pianist and composer Lawrence Sieberth explains his approach to making music.
“Being a musician is so much more than being a musician—it’s being a person that’s part of a system, a psychologist,” Sieberth says by phone, on a November evening a few days before his first gig since the March shutdowns; like most musicians, he’s largely stayed close to home during the down time. “But you’re not trying to fix anything. You’re just trying to acknowledge and interpret and integrate.
“I’m a big believer in systems theory,” he says. “It’s important to understand the bigger picture. I was trained to be an architect. It’s the idea of spatial thinking: When the dimensions of one room change, it can affect the structure of the entire building. It’s the same with music. The components need to integrate in such a way that the listener and the performer are instantaneously creating a dialogue which can be understood in a non-literal subconscious way by the listener.”
Something similar might be said about the process behind the creation of An Evening in Paris, which has Sieberth leading a European acoustic quartet on a set of originals incorporating balladry, folk strains, funk grooves, zippy fusion-style lines, and classical influences. For the project, on his own Musik Bloc label, he began by tapping friend and fellow former Baton Rouge resident Jeff Boudreaux, a drummer who has lived in Paris for several decades. Next came tenor and soprano saxophonist Stéphane Guillaume, a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and educator with multiple releases as a leader. Bassist Michel Benita, who has led sessions for ECM and other labels, including this year’s Looking at Sounds, came into the picture via a Google search.
One rehearsal and one short day in the studio resulted in a recording that benefits from a surprising synchronicity among the players and demonstrates a real sense of mutually supportive collaboration—unusual for such a short-lived ensemble, although the three European musicians were already well acquainted with one another, as were Sieberth and Boudreaux.
Several pieces, including the hard-grooving “The Phantom,” the laidback “A Melody’s Tale,” and the rambunctious, twisting “Kinetic #8,” were written specifically for the album. The aptly titled “Pastoral” dates back about 35 years, and the Americana-ish “The Singing Bowl”—which indeed deploys that titular sound effect—was born after its composer’s wife gifted him with just such a bowl, purchased on a trip to Tibet.
“There was something that was supposed to happen from these choices made over here [in the U.S.] to create something else 2,000 miles away,” Sieberth says. “It was definitely a life-changing experience to play with these musicians from France. It really was a surprising recording session. That’s what made it magical. It wasn’t what I was expecting.”
Sieberth, who points to Bill Evans’ trios, Keith Jarrett’s European Quartet with Jan Garbarek, Art Blakey’s various Messengers lineups, and Corea’s many ensembles as influences, began his own musical journey in earnest at age 20, when the former architecture student moved to New Orleans to attend Loyola University. He soon connected with James Singleton—they both played together with blues legend Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown—and saxophonists Alvin “Red” Tyler, Charles Neville, and Fred Kemp. Sieberth also worked with saxophonist Tony Dagradi, guitarist Steve Masakowski, and drummer Johnny Vidacovich (all later to assemble as Astral Project).
Since then, he’s traveled disparate musical roads. He worked as a sideman for singers Lena Prima and Germaine Bazzle, and gained accolades for multiple albums as a leader, including the acoustic quartet date Silhouettes, the Cuba-meets-New Orleans program Estrella Banda, the solo-piano set New New Orleans, the alternately atmospheric and funky Arkipelago, and the eclectic Heartstrings. Sieberth also has worked as musical director and arranger for New Orleans R&B legends Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas, and for film (Mudbound) and television (Bessie) productions; collaborated with dancers and visual artists; served on the Louisiana Music Commission; and taught at UNO and Loyola.
As a player and composer, his goal remains the same: to tell a compelling story. “Most of my ability to speak about my compositional process is usually reflections after the fact,” he says. “I very rarely think I’m going to try to sound like Chick Corea or Michel Legrand or Bill Evans. I feel that all of my influences shine through, but I hope that I’m creating a story that is unique to me, a story that should take the listener on some kind of journey from beginning to end.”
Jazz Bonus : Lawrence Sieberth – An Evening in Paris
Le pianiste Lawrence Sieberth en congés de New Orleans pour enregistrer “An Evening in Paris” qui paraît chez Musik Blöc.
Publié le jeudi 24 septembre 2020 à 13h06
En compagnie du saxophoniste Stéphane Guillaume, du bassiste Michel Benita et du batteur Jeff Boudreaux, le groupe du néo-orléanais Lawrence Sieberth dévoile un ensemble captivant de compositions profondément mélodiques.
Le pianiste Lawrence Sieberth s’est épanoui pendant des années sur la scène musicale de la Nouvelle-Orléans en portant de nombreux chapeaux musicaux : accompagnateur au clavier polyvalent, compositeur aux multiples facettes, chef d’orchestre, producteur, etc. Sur son nouvel album en quartet, “An Evening in Paris”, nous entendons un vétéran de la Nouvelle-Orléans dont l’excellente réputation le transporte bien au-delà de cette ville historique et sur la scène musicale mondiale.
Lawrence Sieberth a traversé l’océan pour enregistrer avec Stéphane Guillaume (saxophones ténor/soprano) et Michel Benita (contrebasse), ainsi qu’avec Jeff Boudreaux (batterie), un expatrié de longue date basé à Paris et originaire de Louisiane. L’ensemble est composé d’originaux de Lawrence Sieberth, pour la plupart nouveaux, débordant d’invention mélodique et rythmique. Non loin de l’esthétique de son quartet de la Nouvelle-Orléans, qui a sorti les merveilleuses “Silhouettes” en 2017, “An Evening in Paris” fait ressortir une certaine chaleur tonale et une personnalité polyrythmique propres à ce groupe, même si elle met en valeur le pianiste à chaque étape.
De la belle piste plaintive de départ aux pièces ruminantes et quelque peu tristes La Valse Parisienne et A Melody’s Tale (toutes deux pour l’éloquent saxophone soprano de Stéphane Guillaume), l’attachement profond de Lawrence Sieberth à la mélodie transparaît. La composition de Pastoral,Le fantôme et Kinetic #8, plus funky et plus rythmé, et The Singing Bowl Song, subtilement amélioré (avec un échantillon de synthétiseur imitant un bol tibétain), révèlent encore d’autres couches de l’identité compositionnelle de Lawrence Sieberth.
“Jouer avec ces musiciens m’a vraiment forcé à sortir de mon propre confort”, conclut Lawrence Sieberth. Ils ont joué des choses auxquelles je n’aurais jamais pensé, mais il y avait toujours un sentiment de sécurité, même si j’étais obligé de sortir de ce qui m’était familier. Je n’avais pas vraiment besoin de dire grand chose, ce qui est la magie de cette musique”.
(extrait du communiqué de presse en anglais – traduction E. Lacaze / A. Dutilh)
Lawrence Sieberth, Musique Visuelle
Music For Piano Trio And Orchestra
FEBRUARY 27, 2020 | by: STACEY LEIGH BRIDEWELL
Lawrence Sieberth ‘s Musique Visuelle: Music for Piano Trio and Orchestra is a gargantuan endeavor, rich with emotion and densely layered. Calling it cinematic would be too easy, but since its title invites us to envision the music, I think it’s appropriate. The album traverses a landscape of experiences so expansive they could only play out on the silver screen. The multicultural musical influences cue the listener to envision France, Brazil, Africa, or Spain in the sleek, exotic way of a James Bond film or the Riviera of Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief It’s not a literal representation of one place or another, but rather the stylized idea of a life of excitement, mystery, passion and glamour. It’s an atmosphere of deep emotions. A stream- of consciousness of moments appearing and disappearing the same way a chase scene might take Cary Grant through the kitchen of a hotel, across a dance floor, and then speeding along a highway against the glitter of the Mediterranean.
The composition, execution, and engineering that went into its production took the album on its own journey from New Orleans to New York to Nashville and back again. The fact that it’s polished, brilliantly executed, and cohesive is a testament to the peak skills of all of the artists involved. Musique Visuelle is a world of sound in glorious Technicolor.