Que Vola? “What’s up?”
That’s what Cubans like to say when they greet each other. They like it so much that the expression has become a kind of verbal gimmick in the heavily musical Spanish spoken on the island. Que Vola? is also the name of a unique musical project that brings a French jazz septet, assembled by Fidel Fourneyron, together with three young and highly-skilled Cuban percussionists who are as brilliant at the art of summoning Afro-Cuban divinities as they are at vibing up the clubs of La Havana, where they play their raucous rumba. Magic.
The word won’t seem far-fetched when you hear how the percussion irradiates the seven pieces on this album with its magnetic power. The brass and the wind (Fidel Fourneyron, Aymeric Avice, Benjamin Dousteyssier & Hugh Mayot) soar with as much class as poetry, high above the earthy throb of the sacred drums, which the kit drums of Elie Duris burst over, thereby opening up other possibilities.
The Fender Rhodes of Bruno Rhodes allows its mysterious ambiguities to glide over the songs, as enigmatic as the smile of Eleggua, the god that opens up pathways. As for the double bass of Thibaud Soulas, it just keeps talking to the percussion, in a conversation that’s as gripping as it is absorbing.