Saxophonist and composer Carlo Muscat began his musical education at the age of eight. A few years later, he picked up the saxophone and started to discover a love for jazz music. During the early years of his career, he made a name for himself through local performances in Malta before beginning to collaborate with renowned local and international musicians. In 2013, he moved to Paris, France, where he had the opportunity to explore the scene and learn from other musicians, both by listening to and collaborating with them. The Parisian scene led to the recording of his first album, The Sound Catalogues, which stemmed from an earlier project at the 2012 Malta Jazz Festival.
Born in Montreuil, France in 1986, Tony Tixier, at the age of six, started studying classic piano and, at seven, made his first stage appearance. For the next 14 years, he studied choral, classical harmony and counterpoint, writing and composition, and graduating with honours. Since then, he has led an intense concert performance schedule in the U.S., France and elsewhere. In 2012, with his twin brother violinist Scott Tixier, he opened for Herbie Hancock at the Jazz En Tete Festival in Clermont-Ferrand, France.
The Bandcamp page for this release has the following words written:
Hymns is the new duo album by saxophonist Carlo Muscat and pianist Tony Tixier. Featuring interpretations of some of the most renowned French songs, the intricate interplay between the two musicians and the unique fusion of jazz and French chansons creates an intimate soundscape that defines both the timeless melodies of the tunes and the varied influences of the artists.
That wording pretty much sums up what you hear on Hymns. The interplay is intricate and very nicely balanced. Carlo Muscat has a wonderful tone matched by a deftness of touch from Tony Tixier. This is a mellow album release, though it is not say that it is without moments of vibrancy but even then it is constrained in its delivery – just listen to track four ‘Plus je t’embrasse’ to get an understanding of what I mean by that observation.
I first heard Carlo Muscat at the 2017 Malta Jazz Festival, where he featured pianist Burak Bedikyan, and I very much enjoyed what I heard: I also like what I hear on Hymns. The music comes across as being relatively simple in its composition and delivery and that, perhaps, is its strength. The music is captivatingly beautiful and wonderfully phrased by both musicians and is a very good example of the style of jazz that constantly rewards the listener with each listen.
Hymns is available through Bandcamp as a digital download from 12th May.
Tracklist: 1. Hymne à l’amour. 2. Nuages. 3. Des ronds dans l’eau. 4. Plus je t’embrasse. 5. Belle Doëtte. 6. Si tu vois ma mère. 7. Jardin d’hiver. 8. Petite fleur.