SSC1679 2023-01-20

Track List

Dig - 5:36
Mystic Minor - 6:26
The Dip - 7:07
Boosted - 4:39
Just Have Faith - 7:39
Seven Steps To Heaven* - 6:32
She'S Funny That Way - 5:30
How Am I To Know - 4:23


Yvonnick Prene - chromatic harmonica
Dayna Stephens - tenor saxophone
Jeremy Pelt - trumpet
Kevin Hays - piano
Clovis Nicolas - bass
Bill Stewart - drums

The chromatic harmonica is an instrument still finding its footing in the world of modern jazz music. Yvonnick Prené’s mission is to put the harmonica in its rightful place in the pantheon of instruments used to improvise. He makes a convincing case on his new recording, Listen!, as he eschews the trumpet in the classic jazz quintet setting and replaces it with the chromatic harmonica. // The Parisian born Prené has made New York City his home since 2007. His mastery of the chromatic harmonica came through years of study, including time at the Sorbonne, Columbia University, City College of New York, and the New School. His studies included time spent with mentors like Lee Konitz, Charles Persip, Charles Tolliver, and Reggie Workman. Throughout this entire period, Prené has been an active member of the City’s jazz scene. // Prené has placed the harmonica in many musical settings, including an organ trio on his last recording, New York Moments (Steeplechase, 2019), and a duo with guitarist Pasquale Grasso, Merci Toots (Self-Produced, 2015). The sound of the classic jazz quintet of the 1950s and 1960s has been Prené’s favorite for years. // Though it may seem an unusual choice, the harmonica proves to be a great option in this ensemble format as it has the same range as the trumpet and blends well with the tenor saxophone’s lower resonance. For inspiration, Prené looked to many of the greats, including Joe Henderson, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, and Horace Silver. // Prené chose a dream ensemble for his recording session at the legendary Rudy Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Prené loves saxophonist Dayna Stephen’s magical sound, which he likens to the angular approach of Wayne Shorter. Drummer Bill Stewart has been a longtime favorite and Prené felt that his singular conception of time and sound was just right for this project. Prené met pianist Kevin Hays while at the New School and has always appreciated the pianist’s unique voice that regards the tradition reverently, but with a certain freedom. Friend Clovis Nicolas holds the rhythm section together with his fluid bass playing. Prené invited trumpet great Jeremy Pelt to help produce and direct session.