YVONNICK PRENE & GEOFFREY KEEZER 

"JOBIM'S WORLD"

The jazz canon is full of outstanding material for musicians to use as vehicles for improvisation. The music of Brazilian composer Antônio Carlos Jobim and his peers has been especially ripe for interpretation since the 1960s. Chromatic harmonica specialist Yvonnick Prené looked to the Brazilian jazz school for inspiration for his new duo recording with piano virtuoso Geoffrey Keezer, entitled Jobim’s World.

Originally from France, Prené has made a name for himself in the New York City jazz by his straight-ahead jazz style that leans heavily toward the post-bop language. After his last quintet recording, Listen!, Prené decided to find a new avenue to showcase his heightened improvisational sensibilities. He enlisted the assistance of Paris based producer Daniel Yvinec and the two landed on the idea of recording a duo album in honor of the spirit of Jobim’s music.

The scaled down approach would display Prené’s talents in the most transparent way.Prené has known Geoffrey Keezer’s playing and personality for a long time, following the pianist’s appearances in New York City and studying his music. Without meeting Keezer, Prené invited him to record this album, to which Keezer accepted.

To prepare, Prené and Yvinec took their time discussing the possibilities and the material they should work on. Prené also brought in pianist Laurent Courthaliac, an abebop enthusiast, to help arrange a number of pieces, which they worked on over at hree-day period in Paris in September 2023.The trio ultimately arrived on five Jobim pieces, two pieces by Jobim peers, and two original compositions by Prené for the program.

 The well-known material from Jobim was really transformed in their arrangements, which respects his timeless melodies but stretches the harmonic structure to allow for a more modern edge.

After an afternoon of rehearsal with Keezer, in which the pianist and Prené found aclose musical rapport and respect, the recording was captured at Oktaven Audio onNovember 17, 2023. The recording begins with Jobim’s classic “Triste,” which was arranged by Prené and Courthaliac. 

Keezer and Prené navigate a twisting harmonic world with aplomb, especially the challenging double-time section at the end. Pixinguinha and Benedito Lacerda’s joyful choro “Proezas De Solon” follows with emphatic performances from . 

Believed to be an early influence of Jobim, French Caribbean composer HenriSalvador’s ballad, “Dans mon île,” is gorgeously rendered with Brazilian saudade.Prene’s “Vagues à Lames” is a fantastic, dance based on Jobim’s “Waves,” the title cheekily referring to Jobim’s tune, a difficulty in life, and the reeds of a harmonica. Courthaliac’s arrangement of Jobim’s unimpeachable classic, “The Girl from Ipanema,”is read straight through, highlighting the brilliance of the original tune and the originality of the arranger. Inspired by Jobim’s “One Note Samba,” Prené’s “Too Many Notes” presents an exciting pointillistic melody and a modified minor bridge.

There is a charge in the interplay between Keezer and Prené on Jobim’s “Tide,” a piece originally based on the changes of “Wave,” while Jobim’s “Desafinado” receives a light,airy performance intending to sound like a child’s music box. The recording concludes with Jobim’s “Double Rainbow,” which approximates the sound world of early 1960s John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner, dramatically balancing shades both dark and light.Yvonnick Prené is an expert at creating challenging but wonderfully listenable situations for his chromatic harmonica. 

On Jobim’s World, Prené finds a tremendous foil and collaborator in pianist Geoffrey Keezer as they reimagine the musical world of Antônio Carlos Jobim.

I have something amazing to tell you... I'm now working on a new record inspired by the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. The repertoire includes interpretations of Jobim melodies as well as originals inspired by Jobim's world. It will be a duo with the extraordinary pianist Geoffrey Keezer!

We'll be recording in November in New York's Oktaven studio, overseen by Ryan Streber, regarded as one of the top sound engineers in the business.

Your participation in this album pre-sale will allow me to get this project out to the world by supporting the cost of the mastering, cd printing and promotion. 

As a bonus, you'll be able to hear the music before everyone else! As we go, I'll share behind-the-scenes videos and images, as well as my experience making this album.


The Team:

Yvonnick Prené - chromatic harmonica, composition tracks 4 and 6, arrangement track 1 

Geoffrey Keezer - piano

Daniel Yvinec- producer

Laurent Courthaliac - arrangement tracks 1, 3, 5, 7, 8 and 9

Ryan Streber - Audio Engineer  

Recorded at Oktaven Audio New York  on November 17, 2023

Mastering and editing  by Walter Fischbacher at Lofish Studios December 19th, 2023

Sylvie Perrot - cover art painting

Mark Reay - Photos 

Chris Drukker - graphic design

Meet The Team

To make this project a reality, I put together a group of really talented artists... It's about time we met them!

Geoffrey Keezer

PIANist

Jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer ’89, a  Grammy winner, has built a successful career by creating unusual and compelling music with a wide range of artists, from singers such as Diana Krall '83 to bassists such as Christian McBride, and rock stars such as Sting. Since his teenage days playing with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Wisconsin native Keezer has toured all over the world, playing with giants of jazz like Joshua Redman, Pat Metheny , and Wayne Shorter.

Daniel Yvinec

Producer

Daniel first came to my attention in 2002, when I discovered his debut album, "Recycling the Future." Since then, I've seen his name on numerous record covers, most notably the ONJ's superb album "Around Wyatt," for which he received a Victoire de la Musique, the French equivalent of the Grammy Award.

After the release of my most recent record, I asked Daniel about being a part of my next project.  I used to make albums all by myself, but after releasing "LISTEN!" I realized the immense value of having a producer to take my music to new heights. Simply described, a music producer is someone who works with you to improve the quality of your recordings and guide you through the creative process.

Laurent Courthaliac

Arranger

My decision to approach Laurent to make an arrangement of Jobim's work with a jazz flavor was based on his extensive knowledge of jazz and harmony.  Around the middle of September, after he had invested time and effort into the writing of  gorgeous arrangements over the course of several months, we brainstormed and worked on them for three days straight at his Paris flat. We came out with seven stunning arrangements!  Among the many pleasant surprises you'll listen to are the stunning new harmonies that lie beneath the well-known songs of Jobim!

Sylvie Perrot

PAINTER 

At one of Sylvie Perrot's art events, which was taking place in a little seaside community in Brittany, France, I happened to cross paths with her. Her art drew my attention due to the vivid colors she used and the subject matter of the Ideal City, which she is really enthusiastic about.

When I met her, she was putting on an exhibition of large-format watercolors representing the "Invisible Cities" in honor of the centennial of Italo Calvino's birth.

 Immediately, I envisioned her working her illustration magic on the cover of Jobim's World. I can't wait to see the canvas that she paints for the cover of the album; it's going to look amazing!