Michel Benita’s Ethics quintet has a very distinctive sound determined by its instrumentation and the Algerian-born, Paris-based double bassist uses it in a generous way, overlapping the jazz and folk worlds of music in the process. He has his fellow Andy Sheppard band mate Eivind Aarset on guitar and electronics, Matthieu Michel on flugelhorn, Mieko Miyazaki on koto and Philippe Garcia on drums.
The textural richness that Benita can get from the velvety pulse of bass and rattling shake of snare, the smooth sandpaper of flugel and the chrome shine of koto, all moving over Aarset’s characteristic sheen and glimmer, is a delight.
The music that Benita writes is as multi-cultural as the band, taking in rhythms and moods from around the world. In addition he includes a piece by Northumbrian piper Kathryn Tickell (Benita has had a fondness for English folk music since he first started out as an acoustic guitarist inspired by Bert Jansch and John Renbourn before turning to the bass and jazz),a Norwegian ballad and a Miyazaki composition for bass and koto.
The most striking thing about this album, aside from the lovely mix of timbres, is the easy flowing way the players weave their lines – there is constant motion but it always feels like the shifting of sands, the breeze in reeds, the scudding of clouds, natural in every way.
Categories: CD review