Of all the harmonica players who have followed in the footsteps of legendary harmonicist, Jean "Toots” Thielemans’ achievements, Yvonnick Prene has developed into one of the most important chromatic harmonica stylists playing today. In his budding career so far, he has participated in projects with many musical masters, including Donald Brown, Chris Potter, Joe Locke, Pedrito Martinez, Gene Bertroncini, and Ira Coleman among others.
The members of “Breathe”, a group of NYC based musicians, are equally well-versed and accomplished musicians spanning generations. An exceptional soloist with an indubitable talent for swing and harmonic textures, seasoned guitarist Peter Bernstein (bandleader, composer, and sideman with Joshua Redman, Diana Krall, and Lee Konitz) shows once more why he is one of the great guitarists of our time. Jared Gold is a first-rate Hammond B3 organ player with a deep pocket and has worked with the likes of Russell Malone, Seamus Blake, and John Abercrombie. The incredible young drummer, Allan Mednard, provides a variety of grooves shaping the music with the creativity and a sure-footedness that has earned him the trust of Aaron Goldberg, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Aaron Parks.
The compositions on the recording are all originals, except “Got to Go” by legendary pianist, Monty Alexander, and “Looking Up” a tune written by the equally revered French pianist, Michel Petrucciani. The late fellow countryman was one of the first jazz musicians that Yvonnick listened to when he was growing up in the Parisian banlieue of Massy. Yvonnick’s take on Petrucciani’s piece is done in tribute to this exceptional figure.
As a composer who has lived in New York City since 2007, the French harmonica player favors strong melodies and crafts compelling grooves. “Breathe” features many different moods and textures, opening with an infectious buoyant melody, called “Blues Comes Down the Seine”, onto the more harmonically intricate jazz waltz “As Night Falls”, and the mysterious bossa-nova, “Armorica“, a tribute to his ancestors from Brittany. “The Comedian” is a joyful calypso inspired-piece from Sonny Rollins’ most recognizable composition, “St Thomas”. “Mr Tix” is an up beat, energetic, and at times explosive track dedicated to his longtime musical partners, twin brothers, violinist Scott and pianist Tony Tixier.
“Breathe” was recorded at Trading 8s on December 20th 2016. It was engineered by Chris Sulit, and mixed/mastered by GRAMMY award winner Dave Darlington. Coproduced by Yvonnick himself and bassist Lorin Cohen, this CD will definitely inspire a journey of repeated listening for the jazz enthusiast. Yvonnick embarks on a new journey of terrific promise, revealing the inner strength of a young artist determined to get better.