Stéphane Bern discovers the summer residence of French presidents, Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Francis. While most French know the name of Fort Brégançon, few have had the opportunity to enter the place, home for forty years of the summer stays of the various presidents of the Fifth Republic.
Idris Muhammad's House of the Rising Sun is a legendary soul-jazz album, and for good reason. First there's the fact that, Grady Tate notwithstanding, Idris Muhammad is easily the greatest of all soul-jazz drummers. Next, it is revealed that label boss and producer Creed Taylor was at his most inspired here, and wasn't afraid to err on the rhythm and blues side of the jazz equation. The material is top-notch, and David Matthews, who orchestrated and arranged this date with the exception of one track – "Sudan" was written by Muhammad and Tom Harrell, and Harrell arranged it – was on fire. As a bandleader, Muhammad is shockingly effective. Not because one could ever doubt his ability, but because of his reputation as one of the great studio drummers in jazz.
In his introductory note to this CD, Itzhak Perlman informs us that, more than anything else he has recorded, this is truly his own music–"what you might hear if you came to my house and I decided to jam with some friends." And jam he does–with some very talented friends indeed. Klezmer music, which combines the folk and religious music of Yiddish-speaking cultures with various musical traditions of countries such as Russia, Turkey, and Greece, is unusual territory for a major label and a superstar artist, but here the combination works perfectly.