Pianist, songwriter, composer and singer Meddy Gerville is like a fresh summer breeze in a music world of rare exceptions. He is an exotic gem that has yet to be savored sufficiently by U.S. music listeners, yet he has been electrifying audiences the world over with his intricate and compelling synthesis of Jazz and Maloya, indigenous music of his native Reunion Island, for almost a decade. Meddy’s voice has been compared to Milton Nascimento and Al Jarreau, but these comparisons fail to capture the unique timbre and rhythmic intensity of his soulful and nuanced vocal approach. Likewise, his extraordinary compositional, pianistic and improvisational prowess is peerless in its conception and execution, all amply demonstrated on his U.S. debut CD, his seventh release worldwide, Fo Kronm La Vi.
“. . . Meddy Gervilles' version of ‘Blue Rondo’ is the fastest I've ever heard it played. He has remarkable technique. His improvisations show a great sense of composition and development . . .”
Meddy was born in St. Pierre—the largest city in southern Reunion Island—in 1974, and each step in his musical journey has led him towards his unique fusion of Jazz and Maloya, characterized by rhythms of his native island played on various homegrown instruments including ‘rouler,’ ‘kayanm’ and ‘ravan’ drums, all of which help account for his astonishing originality. From the beginning of his career—when Meddy performed with Reunion’s most popular bands, Baster, Ti Fock and Sabouk, touring in Europe, Africa and the U.S.—to the release of his latest solo outing Fo Kronm la vi (2011), Meddy has been spellbinding audiences around the world with the sound of his Maloya Jazz. He has worked with world-class musicians such as Sixun bass player Michel Alibo, Dominique Di Piazza, percussion legend Giovanni Hidalgo, Cuban drummer Horacio ‘El Negro’ Hernandez (voted Best World Music Drummer by Modern Drummer Magazine in 2011), Matthew Garrison (bassist with Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin and Pat Metheny) and World Music icon Danyèl Waro (winner of the 2010 WOMEX Artist Award in Copenhagen), to name but a few.
“The percussion is often in double time to give a quite explosive thrust to a song while Gerville’s melodic input enhances the propulsion through quicksilver phrases and the use of laser-like close harmony vocals that are themselves hotly percussive.”—Kevin Le Gendre, Jazzwise Magazine, U.K.
Fo Kronm La Vi is a multi-layered palate of alluring, fresh sounds with an infectious, explosive polyrhythmic sensibility. At the same time, it is a brilliant preview of what Meddy Gerville is capable of in-person. Putting on Fo Kronm La Vi for an intimate evening or a sophisticated gathering is a sure bet, but seeing this talented, innovative performer live really brings home just how unique and engaging Meddy is. He has the ability to connect with his audience in a very direct and heart-felt way. ‘Artist’ is a word that is bandied about rather cavalierly these days, but in the world of music there are few as truly deserving of this honorific as Meddy Gerville.
“Meddy Gerville is a fascinating artist who is developing his own unique approach to world fusion.”