Monsieur MÂLÂ

Spotify delivered an early Christmas present this week. Down at number 28 in my Release Radar playlist, there was a track called Sahara Spring by Monsieur MÂLÂ. In these cold, damp, early winter days, there could hardly be anything more incongruous than a Sahara Spring, but the music warms the heart like a glass of hot mulled wine at a German Christmas fair. Or a shaft of African sunshine. And Crotchety Man was spell-bound.

But, who is this Monsieur MÂLÂ? Well, he is a five-piece band based in Paris:

  • Balthazar Naturel : Saxophones, English Horn, Flutes, Bass Clarinet
  • Robin Antunes : Violin, Viola, Prepared Violin, Mandolin, Electric Mandolin
  • Nicholas Vella : Piano, Fender Rhodes, Keyboards
  • Swaéli Mbappé : Electric Bass, Fretless Bass, Guitar, Oud
  • Mathieu Edward : Drums, Percussions

Formed in 2018, the band has released two EPs and a handful of singles. The tunes sit in no-man’s land between cool jazz and warm world music. The compositions are top-notch, and the musicianship is flawless. Just listen to this 40-minute live session and enjoy.

Isn’t that just wonderful? I confess, this silly old blogger hasn’t been so excited since he discovered Hidden Orchestra‘s Archipelago album back in 2016. This is 5-star plus material, and I have no hesitation in giving Monsieur MÂLÂ my band/artist of the year award for 2022.

Vella, Naturel, Mbappé, Edward, Antunes

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