No, Anne Pacéo is not a "jazz drummer" like the others. Nothing surprising then that her fourth album is also … different? With Circles, stylistic borders fade, received ideas crumble and creativity turbines at full throttle! Between songs and instrumental thrusts, telluric rhythms and libertarian breaths, these Circles unfold an organic groove, poetic and inspired. Solidly anchored in the current jazz scene but always eager for "other" collaborations, as was the case with Jeanne Added, Mélissa Laveaux and China Mose, Anne Paceo surrounded herself here with singer Leila Martial, saxophonist Emile Parisien and Tony Paeleman for keyboards. The drummer says it herself, this opus was designed differently. "Circles is the culmination of a long-term success over the last four years..
Veteran violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter is not performing the usual Beethoven or Mozart repertoire here, but branching out to embrace new music commissioned for her. Along for the ride are the excellent New York Philharmonic under the baton of Michael Francis for the first Rihm work, and then under Alan Gilbert for the Currier piece, along with contrabassist Roman Patkoló. Lichtes Spiel (for violin and small orchestra) is indeed a "light game," with layered voices in the strings.
French group La Main Harmonique is named for the "Guidonian hand," known to generations of music history graduate students, which teaches solmization syllables by means of labeled finger joints. That suggests the basic orientation here, which is toward specialists; the booklet dutifully lists library sources but does not provide anything so helpful as translations of the 15th-century French texts (there are some almost completely black photos of the performers, though). It's nice, however, to have recordings of this secular chanson repertoire, which in the case of Johannes Ockeghem is not so well represented on recordings as his intellectually fearsome masses.