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At World's Edge

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Album Review

The French born keyboardist, whose recording career stretched back to the '80s, had been out of the contemporary jazz mainstream — and recording mostly in Japan — for several years when he scored an unexpected hit in 2006 with his trio rendition of Steely Dan's "Do It Again." Rather than stick to the vibe that broke him through to popular acclaim, on his Koch Records debut the multi-talented artist returns to his trademark global grooving. Celebrating a recent move from New York to Los Angeles, Philippe Saisse reconnected with two old musical mates, drummer Simon Phillips and bassist Pino Palladino, and hooked up with an impressive guest list: hornmen Jeff Beal and Michael Davis; popular urban jazz cats Jeff Golub, Marc Antoine, and Kirk Whalum; percussionist Lenny Castro, and Beninese vocalist Angélique Kidjo, winner of the 2008 Best Contemporary World Music Album Grammy, who co-wrote and performed on Saisse's 1999 African flavored worldbeat/electronic dance hit "La Vie." Kidjo and Saisse pick up where they left off on one of the disc's most explosive tracks, the wild, hypnotic African world jam "Assante Sana," which also features acoustic guitarist and oud player Annas Allaf. Whalum, Braun, and Davis form a powerhouse horn section behind the keyboardist on the exotic, intensely percussive swinging free jazz jam "Roppongi Blues," while Antoine and Beal help create the dreamy and sensuous late night vibe of "Topanga Moon Dance," which was inspired by the location of the friend's house Saisse stayed at before moving his family West. That home belongs to Bill Howell, the grooving inspiration behind the old-school, easy swinging "Billy's Blues" featuring Jason Golley on trumpets and flugelhorn. Saisse balances his pop, rock and funk-infused tracks like the classic rock edged "The Rover," "Monday Afternoon" and the cleverly titled, autobiographical trio jazz opener "From Nowhere to Now Here" with the film score lush "Through Tainted Glass," a piece reminiscent of some of Saisse's early new age-jazz efforts. At World's Edge was one of the most exciting and explosive contemporary jazz sets of 2009.

Customer Reviews

philippe saisse

Its as if the guy reaches in and grabs your soul his playing his style speaks for itself amazing

Dave, North Carolina

This is a really good cd to just chill and take it easy or go for a nice ride. If especially good for lovers of the piano...

Saisse Pushes The Boundaries That Are Inherently Risqué For Any Artist

Philippe Saisse has released a masterpiece titled At World’s Edge. Saisse has been around the proverbial music block between guest appearances and his solo work. He has an enviable record of accomplishments by anyone’s high standards for excellence and consistency. Saisse has many guests walk in the studio to assist in the recording process, notably the incredidbly talented Simon Phillps (drums) and Jeff Golub (guitars) amongst other outstanding performers. That being said, Saisse can stand on his own two feet as a musician (keyboards) and in the producers chair. He is equally proficient wherever he chooses to put his hands. At World’s Edge is 12 solid and diverse tracks with rudiments of traditional and modern jazz with occassional sprinkles and at times heavy helpings of Latin, fusion, and world music all filtered through the ultimate perception of one man and his vision. While all the tracks have their own sound and essence each one unequivocally found favor with these ears. There was one that really caught me as being the spotlight track and my pick for the one that you would hear all over smooth jazz stations…“Monday Afternoon.” Ultimately this is anything but a smooth jazz album but this track is a close as it gets. It has an enticing rhythmic heart, which comes to be expected after the first few tracks, and musicianship that is well beyond adequate. The reason I site this as a “masterpiece” is for several reasons. The production values are excellent, the music appealing and eclectic from start to finish, and the pushing of boundaries that is inherently risqué comes as a matter of course for Saisse and his band. This is not to say this project was a walk in the park, in fact it is quite the opposite. The difficulty of making such an exceptional album by fusing several genres while still sounding modern without casting away the tradition of jazz at all cost. This is the most important aspect of Saisse’s repertoire; he maintains his respect and love for jazz and is able to influence it to make his own mark and sound original without leaving any doubt or room for recourse. Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck April 1, 2009


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Contemporary jazz keyboardist, composer and producer Philippe Saisse was born in Marseilles and raised in Paris; the son of a staff producer at CBS/Sony France, he studied piano, music theory and composition at the Paris National Conservatory, winning Boston's Berklee College of Music's prestigious Paul Winter Scholarship upon graduating in 1975. At Berklee, Saisse became the protege of vibraphonist Gary Burton, leading to a tenure playing behind Narada Michael Walden; he made his recorded debut...
Full Bio
At World's Edge, Philippe Saisse
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Mar 10, 2009

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