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Renaud Louis-Servais Group: Iluna

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Sep 05, 2011    l   By Ablx Staff

A 25-year veteran of the European touring circuit despite not yet being 40 years old, French guitarist Renaud Louis-Servais shows inherent seasoning on his self-titled quartet's new Iluna debut. The crafty leader most recently performed and practiced with his rhythm section of Henri Dorina (bass) and Alain Bidot-Naude (drums) for 10 years before adding keyboardist/trumpeter Franck Guicherd and entering the studio.

Iluna illustrates both the chemistry and trust between the talented quartet's members, allowing Louis-Servais to wear his formidable rock and fusion influences on his sleeve. His opening three-song cycle spans 24 minutes, with Theme d'Iluna leading off. Guicherd's atmospheric synthesizer intro leads to several rhythmic shifts by Dorina and Bidot-Naude as the guitarist's use of sustain echoes Gary Moore and Steve Vai.

Euria, part two of the cycle, downshifts into a 6/8-timed cadence that showcases Louis-Servais' clean-toned rhythm playing and soloing. Guicherd shows his dexterity by playing a trumpet solo (as well as keyboard parts on both acoustic and Fender Rhodes electric pianos), and Dorina effortlessly switches from fretless bass back to fretted for part three, the classically-influenced Chani (with a chanted intro by Djamila Ghilani, the only vocal on an otherwise instrumental disc).

Guicherd sticks to acoustic piano on Pat, since Louis-Servais provides the plugged-in textures on guitar synthesizer in a salute to Pat Metheny. The leader also shows glimpses of John McLaughlin, Allan Holdsworth and Scott Henderson throughout, yet still manages to display his own style as both a player and composer. Gimmick is anything but, featuring a rollicking rhythmic undercurrent, boogie-woogie piano accompaniment by Guillaume Roussel, and banner solos and trades between Louis-Servais and saxophonist Alessandro Nocco.

The saxophonist returns for the tranquil La Quete de Roland, which spotlights Louis-Servais' acoustic guitar finesse, and also for the closing Dom. After the core quartet lures the listener into a fiery, 7/8-timed Magnet 7, and hints at Jeff Beck on the atmospheric Pulse, Nocco rejoins the lineup to take Louis-Servais' final influential nod even further into the stratosphere.

On Dom, the guitarist's clean-toned chords introduce an insistent rhythmic pattern by Dorina and Bidot-Naude, plus accompanying textures by Guicherd and Nocco -- all of which help to build the thematic, whammy bar-driven epic. The feel here is reminiscent of Beck's 1980 CD There and Back, an appropriate theme for Louis-Servais' initial lunar mission.




Personnel:
Renaud Louis-Servais (guitars)

Franck Guicherd (keyboards/trumpet)

Henri Dorina (electric bass)

Alain Bidot-Naude (drums)

Alessandro Nocco (saxophone)

Guillaume Roussel (keyboards)

Djamila Ghilani (vocal)


Tracklisting:


1. Theme d'Iluna

2. Euria (Cycle de la Pluie)

3. Chani (Cycle du Desert)

4. Pat

5. Gimmick

6. La Quete de Roland

7. Magnet 7

8. Pulse

9. Dom


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