Sonny Troupé, “Evocation,” from Reflets Denses
Sonny Troupé, a percussionist with a far-reaching ear for groove, draws upon a diverse musical background to inform his playing on his new quartet album, Reflets Denses. Troupé’s father, Georges, was a saxophone player in their home country of Guadeloupe, and raised his son to play the gwo ka drum, a hand drum ubiquitous in Caribbean folk music. The younger Troupé deepened his classical education as an undergraduate, studying music theory at a Guadeloupean university. After relocating to France, Troupé broadened his musical horizons even further by collaborating with artists from genres as varied as jazz, funk, heavy metal, fusion and reggae. His previous two albums portray an artist with an abundant rhythmic vocabulary and a natural facility with melody. “Evocation,” a track off his latest disc, reinforces the notion that Troupé is a master craftsman capable of stitching together disparate musical threads. Troupé’s percolating drum patterns provide the heart of the song, infusing a strong Caribbean element. But the melody, performed as a dialogue between piano, soprano saxophone and flute, rings with overtones of Baroque music, samba, and progressive jazz. Pops of bass add a funky contrast.