Romain Pilon - guitar
Walter Smith III - tenor sax
Michael Janisch - double bass
Jamire Williams - drums
Recorded by Richard Hammett: Red Gables Studio, London Feb 11th and 12th, 2013
Aditional recording by Hermanno Grossi and Mathieu Gramoli at LM Studio, Claye Souilly, March 30th 2013
Mixed and Mastered by Tyler McDiarmid: New York June 2013
Produced by Romain Pilon
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
Walter Smith III appears courtesy of Concord Jazz
released October 7, 2013
ABOUT THE ALBUM
"Romain Pilon is a guitarist full of surprises. He has a flawless technique and a great harmonic sense. He is someone to keep an eye on."
- Lionel Loueke
Colorfield is the debut Whirlwind release from Paris-based guitarist Romain Pilon, one of France's esteemed contemporary jazz musicians. The album builds off the international success gained from his first solo release NY3 (which features bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Colin Stranahan) and continues his development as both a virtuoso guitarist and composer of considerable note. Colorfield also sees him at the helm of an exciting cast in Walter Smith III on tenor saxophone, bassist Michael Janisch and drummer Jamire Williams. The program consists of seven skillfully crafted originals and a reworking of Horace Silver's 'Lonely Woman.' Throughout the album Pilon shines with an assured confidence of a seasoned veteran while demonstrating his fleeting fretwork and infectious guitar tone.
One of the main influences for Pilon's compositional approach to the music on this album was the style of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the 1940s and 1950s known simply as 'Color Field Painting.' Inspired by European Modernism and closely related to Abstract Expressionism, Color Field is characterized primarily by large fields of flat, solid color spread across or stained into the canvas, creating areas of unbroken surface and a flat picture plane. The movement places less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and action in favor of an overall consistency of form and process. Color is therefore freed from objective context and becomes the subject in itself. This visual influence inspired the overall sound palette on Colorfield, as Pilon thought of his compositions as audible paintings, where lush, drawn out harmonies and driving ostinatos become the focal point as much as their complimenting melodies.
Pilon also prepared the music especially with the musicians in mind, and in his own words:
"When Whirlwind Recordings invited me to record an album, I felt like it was a very unique occasion to work with some musicians I had admired for a long time. I first heard Walter in 2000 when we studied at the Berklee College of Music, and I immediately became a huge fan. I remember going to Boston's famous Wally's Jazz Café almost every weekend to hear him play. It was always inspiring, and there's no wonder he is a member of some of the best bands in the world today-- he has it all: fire, creativity, swing, tone, vocabulary. He is simply the most influential tenor saxophonist of his generation.
Michael Janisch was also at Berklee at the same time, and we became friends while we performed in The Greg Hopkins Ensemble together. Since our Boston days we've continued to play and stay in touch, most recently embarking on a tour with alto phenom Perico Sambeat. I've had the pleasure hearing him with giants like George Garzone, Greg Osby and Lee Konitz, and was always surprised by the way he fits in the sound of the group, in any context. Michael is a also a really positive person and one can really hear that in his playing-- he has that force, that drive, groove and energy - trademarks of great bass players.
While I was living in New York City shortly after I graduated from Berklee, I kept hearing about a young drummer to keep an eye on- Jamire Williams. Shortly after I saw him live with Kenny Garrett and later on in a smaller venue with Jacky Terrasson, I was struck by his amazing tone on the instrument and also the way in which he could sustain intensity even at low volumes. Truly, there are not many players on the planet that have his same level of sound concept. As a result he influenced my writing for this record a great deal as his playing is also diverse, easily working from hip hop to rock to jazz. Therefore, for the first time, I've tried to base tunes on grooves as much as on melodies and harmonies.
The material was written over the course of about 6 or 7 months, with the musician's sound in mind, and I also think the music reflects a really joyful and stable period in my life. I've tried to keep it simple, singable, and thought about the record as a whole unit, which for me relates to the inspiration I get when viewing Color Field paintings as well."
An Album of the Year - Jazz News Magazine
An Album of the Year - Jazz Breakfast
Best 6 Albums of November 2013 List
Jazz News Magazine (France)
"The intuition the players share, that apparently effortless way the music is delivered, belies the fact that there is a lot going on. Smith’s sound is very lovely throughout on Colorfield: there’s a wooziness and weariness to the tone that is very appealing and real; and Pilon’s sound complements the saxophone lead masterfully."
"Pilon is a quick-thinking player with an attractively warm, acoustic-inspired tone. His technique is fluent and hardworking, avoiding cheap speed-licks in favor of solid ideas."
★★★★ Jazzwise Magazine
"French guitarist Romain Pilon now lives in Paris but the early-hours bustle and group dynamics of this thoughtfully composed and melodic CD reflect dues paid in New York. The six originals were written with three handpicked Americans in mind. Michael Janisch and Jamire Williams are supple and lean on bass and drums, saxophonist Walter Smith III is the perfect foil and the warm-but-world-weary Pilon is world class."
★★★★ The Financial Times
"An understated gem. In its own way a quiet masterpiece."
★★★★ The Jazz Mann
"Pilon plays with a round, soft edged tone, reminiscent of the great Jim Hall and uses absolutely no effects other than his great ear for harmonically acute, melodically elegant, rhythmically fluid improvisation. HIghly recommended."
The Blue Moment
"There are no dud moments on this recording. This is not a collection which grows on you; it attaches itself from the start and requires repeat playing."
"A must have of modern jazz."
"The music is uniformily easy to listen to... The overarching sensation of relaxed, unhurried musicianship remains... impressive solos... one of his [Pilon's] most graceful performances."
All About Jazz
"A wonderfully relaxed breath of fresh air. A lovely unassuming album which doesn't need to impress, it's just happy to be, and is all the more fulfilling for it."
The Jazz Breakfast
“Pilon is without doubt one of the most outstanding guitarists to have emerged in recent years.”
Bebop Spoken Here
"With a rare sense of space, Romain is a guitarist whose flow of imagination sets high standards, and whose guitar tone is one of the most elegant around."
Jazz News (highest rating)
"French guitarist and Berklee graduate Roman Pilon’s lyrical style has charmed, among others, guitar hero Pat Metheny, whose early albums Pilon clearly uses as a springboard. His quartet plays with weightless grace."
"An hour of music in which substance triumphs over style, Janisch and Williams play a full part in these outstanding conversations, in which everyone has something worth saying and no one tries to shout anyone down."
The Blue Moment
"Romain Pilon is a great player that many people will know more about very soon. His playing and composing reveal a powerful and personal voice on the instrument."
"Romain Pilon, plays with a trueness that is missing in a lot of guitarist today. A knowledge of the past, and a foot in the future. Lyrical and conscience of pure sound."