Montreux, Switzerland born contemporary jazz pianist Alex Bugnon enthused the smooth jazz audience with albums such as Love Season (1989),  Head Over Heels (1990), 107 Degrees in the Shade (1991), This Time Around (1993), Tales from the Bright Side (1995), As Promised (2000), Soul Purpose (2001), Southern Living (2003), Free (2005) and Going Home (2009).

The latter album was already released on Bugnon's label Xela Records. Now he returns with the album Harlem. The album starts with the slow paced Bridging The Gap with Alex Bugnon on piano accompanied by Poogie Bells (drums), Jeremy McDonald (bass) and Keith Robinson (guitar). The melodious piece gives him enough approaches to put his dexterity on the piano to the test.

Curtis Mayfield's album Super Fly was one of the pioneering soul concept albums. Alex presents from this album the track Pusherman and shines on piano and Wurlitzer organ. Preach Freedom's percussion delivers an authentic rhythm background. Night In Tunisia by  Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Paparelli, a popular jazz standard, is interpreted by Bugnon the acoustic way. He designed the original brass piece around a trio with Poogie Bells on drums and Jeremy McDonald on acoustic bass.

The song River Seine features lead singer Maysa joined by background singers Martha Redbone, Keith Anthony Fluitt and Lisa Fischer and Alex on Fender Rhodes. A reminiscence to the style of the group Incognito. Stevie Wonder's offers so many heartfelt emotion. With sonorous keystrokes Alex elicits the song its magic and expands it to unexpected solos.

Lush Life is a jazz classic by Billy Strayhorn. Alex Bugnon honors this great composer and performer with his own tribute. Seamlessly in style follows Burt Bacharach's A House Is Not A Home, which Alex performs with great empathy. Mikell's was a jazz club on the corner of 97th Street and Columbus Avenue, New York. Stompin' At Mikell's is Bugnon's very own homage with a splash of Birdland.

My personal highlight of this album is Manhattan Lullaby, which can be measured by its intensity with pieces by Pat Metheny. Composer of this song are Alex, Charles Bell, Victor Bailey and Frederico Pena. The contemplative Up There On The Mountain was inspired by a theme of Jean Bovet. Final piece of the album is the swinging Jungle Bells. Alex is humming and piano performing like for example Bud Powell, Cecil Taylor or Glenn Gould.

Thus the circle is closed, which Alex Bugnon encompasses with his album Harlem. From Smooth Jazz to Bebop and Swing united by the maestro himself.





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Album Information

Title: Harlem
Artist: Alex Bugnon
Year: 2013
Length: 0:56:52
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Xela Records

01 Bridging The Gap [5:09]
02 Pusherman [5:14]
03 Night In Tunisia [5:20]
04 River Seine [3:40]
05 Summer Soft [4:34]
06 Lush Life [4:24]
07 A House Is Not A Home [6:43]
08 Stompin' At Mikell's [5:01]
09 Manhattan Lullaby [5:49]
10 Up There On The Mountain [5:38]
11 Jungle Bells [5:20]