Home Rec. Thierry Crommen : Versions Originalles (B,2007)***° After a degree in psychology, Thierry quickly established himself as a self-taught professional (chromatic and diatonic) harmonica player who is able to switch and combine styles easily, so he became a guest to many Belgium musicians and groups, for many and also mainstream genres. One of the most interesting persons he has worked with is guitarist talent Jacques Stotzem with whom he released a duo album called “Different Ways” in 1997 (I have two solo releases of him reviewed on next page). This is his second solo release, with unreleased works, and recordings done with the additional help from Chris De Pauw : 6-string guitars, piano (5) ; Erno : piano, melodica (6,10), voice (2) ; Achim Tang : double bass ; Bill Barrett : chromatic harmonica (11), Karim Baggili : oud, vocals (9) and Sanseveino : vocals (3), gypsy guitar (3,8).
In some tracks it is clear how Thierry’s style is influenced by the most famous, also Belgian, harmonica player, Toots Thielemans, with a smooth jazzy approach, taking the time for the individual notes to stretch and relax, then pulling slightly back, but sounding often lighter and more swinging, fresh and happy, (Stevie Wonder was taken as another reference, perhaps well taken considering some of Thierry’s choices of tracks that keep vivid some sort of swing), playing in and with the thin air, and in fact sounding always jazzy no matter what styles are taken for interpretation (blues, Irish/Rumanian folk, waltz,..). A bit different also is the Arab song “Zayak” by Karim Baggili, with voice, oud, piano as intro, and of course harmonica, bass, guitar, as a pretty, slightly melancholic moody excursion into it.