Céline Bonacina Trio - Way Of Life (3 stars)

Céline Bonacina Trio - Way Of Life

(ACT Records)

It was one of the Munich-based label’s established stars, guitarist Nguyen Lê, who recommended French saxophonist Céline Bonacina to ACT, and he is a guest on four of the tracks on this debut album. Bonacina’s main instrument is the baritone saxophone, but she is also heard on alto and soprano, and contributes some less memorable vocals along the way. Nicolas Garnier on electric bass guitar and drummer Hary Ratsimbazafy from Madagascar complete her core trio.

The groove-based world jazz the trio serve up is both attractive and accessible, strong on rhythmic vitality and colour. Bonacina’s improvising is good rather than great at this stage, but she finds her voice on the unwieldy baritone in impressive fashion in the surging up-tempo material, and engages in an intriguing dialogue on soprano saxophone with Lê’s guitar in the slower but equally charged ‘Entre deux Rêves’.

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