I Found A New Home
Release Date: March 27, 2020
Label: Dot Time Records
I Found a New Home is Claude Diallo's reflection on moving back to his native Switzerland, to establish a new home and family, after living in the United States for 14 years. Fittingly, this is the Swiss-Franco pianist and composer’s first release with this iteration of the Claude Diallo Situation. Alongside Diallo, this dynamic trio features the steadfast rhythm section of bassist Luques Curtis (known for his work with Christian Scott, Eddie Palmieri and brother Zaccai Curtis) and drummer Andy Bauer (known for his work with band Twin Shadow). On I Found a New Home, the trio presents a stunning performance that is as much of a modern exploration of harmony and sonacy as it is grounded in the jazz tradition.
There seemed to be no turning back when Claude Diallo left Switzerland for America to study jazz, an artform which the pianist took an early interest in after being particularly intrigued by the music of Oscar Peterson in his youth. Diallo studied voraciously while at Boston’s Berklee School of Music and eventually moved to New York to study at the Aaron Copland School of Music. Diallo stayed in the city that never sleeps for 11 fruitful years. There, he had the opportunity to perform with icons of the jazz artform, and finally, the young pianist began to tour on a global level. Through his curiosity, admiration and passion towards other cultures, he built a worldwide network, which is still growing. Diallo’s travels brought him back to his homeland, there he stayed, built a family, and found a new home.
The album begins with the soulful musings of “One Last Prayer For You”, a gospel-infused memorial which Diallo dedicated to Lorraine Bolling, the daughter of the first African-American senator of Massachusetts. Bolling, who passed away at age 51, was a huge supporter of the bandleader. In spirited remembrance, Diallo stretches out and displays his stunning facility on the keys. The title track is a jubilant, blues-tinged masterwork which demonstrates the incredible cohesiveness of this trio. Bassist Luques Curtis opens up the solos, exhibiting beautiful melodic invention over Diallo’s changes. The changes act as a playground for Diallo who runs free over the soulful harmonies with an impassioned fervor.
The majority of compositions on this release are written with the bandleader’s family in mind. “Nina’s Theme” is a more reflective composition which was composed for the 70th birthday of Claude’s aunt Nina Zafran, the sister of his mother. Nina is a classically trained pianist and you can hear the classical connection in this composition. “Leo Mathieu” was written for Claude’s son, now 2 years old. The tune shows a more sensitive side to Claude’s performance. The CD features a very personal solo performance of Diallo. The Heartfelt “Yours” is dedicated to his wife Daniela. The album concludes with a composition entitled “McCoy Meets Monk” on which Diallo pays tribute to two piano icons, McCoy Tyner and Thelonious Monk. The piece has all of the individuality and quirkiness inherent to Monk’s compositions and all of the intensity and passion of McCoy Tyner’s signature style.
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"Claude Diallo's piano playing is steeped in the blues and gospel." Read the full feature here.
"Not at all background music, it's front and center stuff expertly played that's at home in any setting. Tasty throughout, this chases away the blues in fine form." Read the full review here.