Jean-Luc Guionnet & Edward Perraud: Heur (2002)

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An outcome of unexpected opportunity this duet arose out of a companion session at CIMP’s Spirit Room for the Joe Rosenberg Quartet (see also on CIMP). Guionnet and Perraud, both visiting Frenchmen, capitalized on the generous offer posed by producer Bob Rusch and set about freely improvising for the better part of an hour. In their accompanying notes the players suggest the usage of headphones and without the close sonic quarters afforded by such equipment much of the logic and subtlety of their interactions is lost.

The title ascribed to the birthed sounds loosely translates to ‘chance occurrence’ and truth be told that’s what much it sounds like, a random aggregation of sounds strung together along a temporal trajectory. Deeper and more concentrated listening reveals patterns and fleeting thematic facets, but these require both patience and diligence in their discernment. The piece starts almost imperceptibly with a quiet succession of whispers and scrapes. Guionnet eventually engages in a series of sputtering Morse-Code-like segments of sound, leavened by reed pops and pa-flutters. Perraud clatters along beside him using bursts of percussive noise broken by brief snippets of silence to create tension and release.

This is music that demands either a great deal or virtually nothing from the listener depending upon his or her perspective and particular predilection for free improvisation. It’s decidedly European in cast in the sense that this tradition seems more a product of Minimalist and Modern Classical leanings than anything having to do with jazz. All this being said many might find an hour’s worth of found sounds and intentional abstractions more vexing than challenging. Those with an ear attenuated to such endeavors or willing to suspend their prejudices toward them in favor of the experience are likely to find themselves hypnotized by the proceedings, which do contain some startlingly serendipitous events. I myself couldn’t banish the specter of structured interplay completely from my consciousness and found my mind wandering against the players rather than with them.

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Track Listing: Heur (56:24)

Personnel: Jean-Luc Guionnet- alto saxophone; Edward Perraud- drums. Recorded: October 16, 2001.

Record Label: CIMP Records

Style: Modern Jazz

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