The Netherlands contemporary jazz ensemble, Azure have a sure-fire formula for synchronizing light and dark shades so their contrasting frames fade into each other and create pleasing symbiotic patterns in their music. The group’s latest CD, When She Smiles demonstrates their skill for softening rough edges and producing clean chord shifts without diminishing the percolating dynamics as the lines of the instruments cut into each other at an angle. Chord patterns are tightened and elongated respectively as the band members act as a catalyst for each other’s movements. Comprised of Pierre-François Blanchard on piano, Rogier Schneemann on guitar, Eric Heijnsdijk on bass, and Antonio Pisano on drums, Azure produce dimension in their music so the melodic patterns spring out at the listener. Their instruments move with a slinky strut through the channels like continually evolving organisms molded into complex shapes and bending into curves that hold the audience transfixed on its transformations and pulsating mutations.
Not a single moment on the album goes by without the musicians making continual changes along the course of the melodic channels. Literally, nothing stays the same as chord movements are being shifted subtly and transitions open the gate to new shapes and entanglements. The elegant sparkles of the piano keys caressing "Berceuse Pour Maelise" shift its patterns infinitesimally along the course of piece, and by the ending, it has evolved into a completely different shape from what it started as in the opening. Each track evolves naturally creating several stages along its path as the metamorphosis takes the listener along its travels. Like sailing along the Danube River, the scenery continually changes, though the vista always maintains a serene beauty. The changes are made in gentle increments like in the title track, while arousing the imagination to experience new sensations that soothe the body. Each song is encased in warm esthetics with a melodic scheme that resonates a smooth jazz sensibility like in "RnP." Each number has a distinct mixture and prominent riffs which characterize its thematic traits like the twinkling piano keys of "By-Y-You" or the sultry bowing of the guitar chords furling into a gorgeous blaze in "By Heart."
Azure take the listener on a fantastical journey through their recording, When She Smiles. Produced by Azure and Lauran Jurrius, it is music that enhances those moments of privacy with the backdrop of a candle-light dinner. The music draws the listener into its warmth making Azure’s castle, your castle.