La Nouvelle Donne - Thierry Crommen

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Thierry Crommen is a diatonic and chromatic player from Belgium who is well known as a sideman to famous French pop stars. He has released several albums of more personal projects, with guitarist Jacques Stotzem in particular, but La Nouvelle Donne is his first solo release. Although there are many guest musicians here, the core of the instrumentation is Chris de Pauw on acoustic guitar, Erno on keyboards and Thierry himself on harmonica. La Nouvelle Donne (The New Deal) is an album of mostly instrumental tracks, and it veers heavily towards the romantic. The compositions are ambitious and often have a certain grandeur to them although the influences are many, from the North African feel of “Paris Tagine” to the French musette of “Un air qui passe”. Thierry Crommen is a fluent overblower, on diatonic so his choice of instrument is rarely dictated by the complexity of the themes but rather by the feel he is trying to evoke. And it works really well: his tone is masterful and sensitive on both instruments, his playing is spot on in accuracy and phrasing, and his improvisations are well led and inventive. As an added bonus, although the harmonica is undoubtedly the solo instrument here, the flair and feel of the sidemen are also outstanding, heard both in the clever support and the rare but often superb improvisations. (…) (…) Supposing you like both romantic jazzy music and heartfelt harmonica playing, La Nouvelle Donne is a great way to discover Thierry Crommen’s world.