Stress Killer Léon Phal

Album info



Label: Masterworks

Genre: Jazz

Subgenre: Contemporary Jazz

Artist: Léon Phal

Album including Album cover

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  • 1Vibing in Ay04:07
  • 2Fuck Yeah05:16
  • 3Idylla03:46
  • 4Balanced Action04:49
  • 5Something Inside03:12
  • 6Stress Killer03:44
  • 7Bongo 11304:23
  • 8Naima04:06
  • 9Same Human04:03
  • 10Clarity03:02
  • Total Runtime40:28

Info for Stress Killer

Saxophonist Léon Phal presents his new full length album, his first for Heavenly Sweetness. Picking up from his last album ‘Dust to Stars’ (Kyudo Records) in 2021, this new LP entitled ‘Stress Killer’ delves even deeper into the area between nightclub and jazz club culture.

As a graduate of Lausanne’s Haute École de Musique, he’s a key artist within the much spoken about French new jazz scene. With a notoriety that goes beyond the borders of Europe, this Franco-Swiss musician paves his own path in his own way, alongside his faithful quintet of; Arthur Alard (Drums), Rémi Bouyssière (Double Bass), Gauthier Toux (Keyboards) and Zacharie Ksyk (Trumpet).

Over its 10 tracks ‘Stress Killer‘s perhaps the most major and remarkable point is that no drum machines or sampler were used in its creation. Despite its sonic shelving so close to the nightclub sounds, it is made using traditional jazz instrumentation.

Embracing ideas and desires to make people dance by approaching jazz as club music, the first single from the album "Fuck Yeah" highlights that goal perfectly. With its nods to the techno pioneers of Detroit and the deep house of Chicago.

Across this record tracks are arranged in a club music style, builds and drops that use breaks, climbs and loops - immediately making you think, "Fuck Yeah".

The saxophone remains the ringleader and master of ceremonies across the album, fusing jazz codes with detailed electronic etiquette, notes and ideas speak to the bodies of dancers and club goers, making you want to move.

On the J Dilla inspired ‘Idylla’, we have the first feature on the album, coming in from Heavenly Sweetness / Pura Vida label mate, K.O.G. A behind the beat groove allows K.O.G’s spoken word to sit over Gauthier’s keys, intertwining beautifully together with the rest of the track.

More mellower and reflective moments are to be found courtesy of ‘Balanced Action’, showing just how great Leon’s sax lines sound doubled with Zacharie’s trumpet.

A second vocal feature, Lorine Chia from LA, she adds a sultry yet affirmative performance on ‘Something Inside’

Then over onto side two, title track ‘Stress Killer’ does just that with its uplifting and playful hook. Feet get tapping and necks get snapping as Arthur’s snare drives the track towards an almost psychedelic ending, Gauthier showing off some synth sonics that could melt minds.

Only once does Léon look back into the rear-view mirror, towards the masters who explored the saxophone like no other. An interpretation of John Coltrane’s ‘Naima’, features deep rhodes tones before the unmistakable sax and trumpet melody arrive.

Album closer, ‘Clarity’ rounds off the record beautifully with a nostalgic yet familiar, hope filled chord progression, allowing the rest of the band to fill the spaces so tastefully.

Early support in the UK comes from Mr Scruff and Marhsa at NTS - it’s now time to present the rest of the album.

A record that has really captured all energies, be them eyes down on dark nightclub dance floors or squeezed into sweaty basement jazz clubs. The sound of Léon’s album may sometimes resemble that of machines, but it always retains its humanity.

Léon Phal, saxophone
Gauthier Toux, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, piano, Prophet ‘08, Oberheim OB-6, Minimoog model D
Zacharie Ksyk, trumpet
Arthur Alard, drums, percussions
Rémi Bouyssière, double bass

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This album contains no booklet.

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