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Le Nouvelliste | Jimmy Jean-Félix denies nothing

We have all the trouble in the world to tear ourselves away from the intoxicating listening to this CD, its bewitching charm, like the orbital attraction, the gravity of a magical and musical planet of which we are a prisoner. there are scruples that delay the report. But, in the end, we resign ourselves to throwing ourselves into the water.

There are musicians who, at the height of their ambition, at the end of their ascent and of the ladder, shamefully repress their past, their journey and the milestones laid down, before reaching their final goal. Not Jimmy Jean-Félix: he denies nothing of his career as an artist. This guitarist, before achieving skills as a modern jazzman and arranger, played popular Haitian urban and neo-folkloric dance music, rock and funk, jazz-rock. He listened to Caribbean Creole music, African music. He offers us a synthesis of all these influences in his recently released CD “Jimmylogy”.

General shape

The listener and music lover actually enjoys thirteen compositions on 15 tracks, including eight (8) songs and five (5) instrumental compositions oriented towards jazz, funk and rock, often combined with Haitian, Latin and Creoles, even Africans. Most of the pieces are composed by Jimmy Jean-Félix who also arranges them, with the exception of “Millele” (track 9) whose co-composer is Beethova and “Mèsi Bondye” arranged in another version than that of Frantz Casséus . Jimmy Jean-Félix uses excellent lyricists like Jean Winer Pascal, A. Patrick Augustin, Romel. A.Marseille, Beethova Obas, Alan Baptiste. He himself wrote the “lyrics” for three songs, one of which was in cooperation with Romel A. Marseille.

The composer-arranger shows us his multi-talented guitarist, keyboardist, bass player and singer (star or chorister). Singers in “lead” or “background” voices lend their support to him on this CD. What would the songs be without the pleasant melee of female or mixed choirs! Beautiful vocals and sharp vocals to liven up the tracks and converse with the singer or lead vocalist.

The diversity of genres, forms and rhythms is manifest, significant: funk, rock, jazz-rock, blues, modern and funky jazz, R’N’B, allied to the molds and rhythms of Haitian folk music, Latin, Creole and West Indian or African. Variety that delights the ear.

A predominance of melodies in minor, sometimes “bluesy” and “funky”, fits well with the words of the songs denouncing corruption, delinquency and socio-political degradation, the news of our country. Four compositions in major or mixing modes.

Commentaries improvised or in solos, or prepared and arranged to develop the musical ideas of the melodies and their harmonies.

Fairly modern and tense harmonies without being avant-garde. They are beautiful and very affordable for average and common ears.

Good, interesting arrangements, with often dense and abundant “backgrounds” where you can hear suites of supporting chords – intermittent and punctuated in the right places – tacked on and sometimes alternating with an arpeggio (keyboard and piano in particular). Good accompaniments in general. Presence of choirs in the background, very lively. Covers and temporary riffs. Ostinatos of the bass sometimes.

A rich instrumentation, real debauchery, expressed in various formulas and combinations, according to the pieces: guitar (Jimmy Jean-Félix, Dener Céïde #12); bass (Jimmy Jean-Felix); battery ; keyboard; piano; organ; Fender Rhodes; percussion and congas; tenor, soprano, alto saxes; trombone ; trumpet; flugelhorn or flugelhorn, flute; solo voices accompanied by choirs or not; a rapper. A plethora of instrumentalists and participants, taking turns depending on the tracks.


15 tracks on this CD, including a cover in techno-mix for the benefit of the rapper: Warren Charleston and the last where Jimmy tells the genesis of the song “Pa Mêle”. Actually 13 compositions. Each piece is preceded by an opening introduction and has a very personalized conclusion, sometimes arranged.

1- “Delko” – melody by Jimmy Jean-Félix with a Subtle text by Jean Winer Pascal, a kind of “Funk” and “R’N’B” with energetic drums, a very “bluesy” minor key melody. Introduced in scat with guitar support from the singer who begins a verse. He gives way to singer Berthe Lamour, who also scatters before her verse. Chorus: calls from the singer, responses from the choir. Piano background and guitar commentary. The singer sings the bridge. Vocals and backing vocals on the chorus. Final guitar commentary: 4’31”. Voice: Berthe Lamour.

2- “Ede m rele”, a sort of tragic and poignant “Maskawon” or “rabòday”, sung by Michèle Aupont. There’s Charley Corczynski’s alto saxophone for backing vocals and commentary. Melody in minor by Jimmy Jean-Félix and lyrics by A. Patrick Augustin, simple and objective. The performance of the singer is heartbreaking: pains of the bowels 5’18 “.

3- “Rise-up”. In minor and very funky with the winds. Words and music by Jimmy Jean-Félix. Special intro: odd bar print. Eddy François then sings, deliciously, this kind of “Nago”, or “Dahomen”. A cry of conscience and alarm. Saturated guitar and rock, on this excellent “rasin”; imposing choir. Conclusion resuming the intro, with its asymmetric allure, 4′ 55″

4- Instrumental. Latin jazz and calypso. Funky intro. Composition with multiple Caribbean and Creole flavors. Arranged winds and piano and guitar solos. On tenor saxophone, there is Jake Hirsch. Piece in Major 4′ 55″

5- “Pa Mele”. In minor. An “Ibo” sung by Jimmy with choir. Winds: Funk Accents. Overdriven guitar solo. “Pa Mêle” and “démele”, “Mele”.

6- “Time to go”. An excellent South African-style contredanse, with bass somewhat reminiscent of a “guaguanco” drum. Very South African choir and solo voice. Presence of a balafon. Ah! The beautiful harmonies of the 3’59” female choir…

7- “Sunday Brunch” An excellent instrumental composition, modern jazz and funk style. Very broad and elaborate theme. Intro. A first part in minor, a bridge in major. Enchanting solos: aerial piano in a beautiful flight. Tense chord breaks. Nice variation on guitar by Jimmy Jean-Félix 4’31”

8- “Eigheen-0-Four” (1804). In minor. Vodou-jazz-rock, instrumental. Attractive theme in its complexity. Rhythm of national “Mayi”. Saturated and rock guitar solos. Breaks to the advantage of the battery. Stunning ride. “Fuzz” and “distortion” from the guitarist. Elaborate coda. 5′:02″

9- “Mille”. Nice compass from Jimmy and Beethova. Lyrics by Beethova Obas. Songs by the two composers. Very swinging piano and soprano sax. In minor. 4′:17″

10- “Rabòjazz”, Superb fusion of the concepts of jazz and our “rabòday”. Good piano. Beautiful flight of guitar, amazing bass in its “ostinato” then free and discreet. The drawing serving as the theme is strangely reminiscent in its curve of “girl of Ipanema” by AC Jobim. It’s ingenious, this transposition of manipulated intervals. influences. 4;27″.

11- “Mesi Bondye” by Frantz Casséus. Excellent arrangement in funk-counterdance of this almost traditional theme. Enchanted and frenzied guitar of the leader. Choir. Piece in Minor 4:52′

12-“Limit Zero” “Yanvalou” and “Mayi”. Sung by Belo. Difficult text and not too clear diction of the singer. “Funky” Winds “Rock” Guitar Saturated, in support and solo. Beautiful melody and good comments 4′; 27″

13- “Petrocity”. Rabòday and Rara popular méringue type C: “montemoulen” 4’37”!

The voices denounce the “PétroCaribe” scandal, with the screaming and folding guitar.

14- “Edem m rele” techno Mix. It’s to the benefit of rapper Warren Charleston_4′:51″

15- “Not male”. The Story 9”07″. Story told by Jimmy Jean-Félix

– Appreciations –

“Jimnylogy” is a vertiginous album. Very rich in truth. It takes patience to discover the details of each piece and to synthesize them. It’s difficult and exhausting, and you have to make choices. The small presentation outlines and summaries are far from complete. We apologize, we did our best and we are not a musicologist. It’s unfortunate.

The arranger-composer-author-interpreter has put everything into it and all his science. He won his bet. Well done Jimmy Jean-Felix!

This is a must-have album.

NB: For credits: refer to the cover

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