"The tempo, sonny, stick to it!" This piece of advice his father, himself a drummer, would give him, has stuck to André Ceccarelli’s memory. He even has it at his fingertips. Drawing on sixty, “Dédé” still exudes the same zest for playing which was part and parcel of the teenager on his way to Paris to make his début in a rock band (Les Chats Sauvages). And on top of that a comprehensive field experience - from accompanying singers to playing in great music groups - and one can easily understand why as early as 1998 Mr Ceccarelli was granted the Great jazz Award by the French copyright management society “Sacem” as an acknowledgement of his whole career.
Don’t be mistaken! The leading drummer from Nice is not the kind of musician to rest on his laurels. He drives his brand new trio at full speed with the gusto of a younger player. His two fellow players are up to par with him:Biréli Lagrène, a guitar virtuoso, a soul mate he had already invited to play in his latest album and Joey DeFrancesco, an American organ player in the tradition of Jimmy Smith. The three of them don’t make one brood, a far cry from it, and they set the whole audience on fire with a brand of music to be tasted at leisure.
André, Biréli and Joey have no need for a trial and error test to launch into the core of the matter - the famous tempo treasured by Daddy Ceccarelli - with a Miles Davis classic of its kind, Nardis, which comes first in an album recorded in the conditions of a live performance. A cocktail of generosity, fullness and rhythm is delivered rightaway.
A change of register in Sophisticated Lady, a great masterpiece by Duke Ellington “Dédé” knows how to sit in the background so as to bring his soloists to the fore in a romantic mood. With the unimpeachable Summertime, the trio display their cohesion and pay tribute to Jimmy Smith, one of the leading players of the organ-guitar-drums trio. After an interlude (Prélude) by the “Boss” playing a solo on the drums (two small minutes of sheer happiness), Dédé sets the band amoving in April in Paris in which Biréli displays his nimbleness while Joey dallies buoyantly.
In 3 Views Of A Secret, a piece by the mythical bass player Jaco Pastorius, the three fellow players demonstrate that they do share the same point of view on the ballad art. As they show the same gusto in the “Avenue des Diables Blues » composition, by Aé Ceccarelli, which lends its name to the album, Dédé, Biréli and Joey work themselves up into a frenzy, putting their heart and soul to match a hellish tempo. A dreaming spell is due with the two following pieces: La Vie en Rose by Edith Piaf (Biréli finetuning and Dédé being sprightly and brisk) and Sunrise” by the young vocal prodigy Norah Jones (André doing a wonderful job with the brushes).
A breathing spell before a bracing The song is you, a great masterpiece by Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein II, which closes the album. Each of our three buddies drain their dwindling strength for the –quite friendly indeed-battle. The crowning piece of a firework display singlemindedly dedicated to rhythm and music.
With “Avenue des Diables Blues”, André Ceccarelli not only flaunts his musical gift (“an untamed jazz musician ringing his instrument in the way he speaks: with a spell binding southern accent” according to Didier Lockwood‘s assessment) but he also records one of the most beautiful pieces in one of the most striking jazz swing format, the organ-guitar-drums trio. And what smashing tempo!