Erik Truffaz: Rendez-Vous (2010)
And so it proves to be, at least with the first and third discs, which find Truffaz noodling blandly alongside vocalist Sly Johnson (CD1: Paris) and electronicist Murcof (CD3: Mexico). Ears weep, first with boredom, then with mounting irritation at the precious time wasted on listening.
But actually, surprisingly, the second disc, Benares, hits the spot. That it does so is thanks to the presence of vocalist Indriana Mukherjee and tabla player Apurba Mukherjee, and the unpretentious majesty of the Bengali folk music from which each track derives. Indriana has one of those voices so innocent and pure that, riffing on the exquisitely pretty melodies of Bengali music, its effect is alchemicalto listen is to drift off to an arboured garden laden with blossom and birdsong. Apurba ripples away, and somewhere, uncredited and presumably sampled, a tamboura drones mellifluously. Indriana is on mike at least half the time, and that's enough to sustain interest even through the 18:24 minutes of the opening "Tarana." Truffaz and pianist Malcolm Braff shuffle in and out, sticking close to the modes and causing no offense.
For a taste of the real thing, however, better to check out London-based pianist Zoe Rahman's and her clarinetist brother, Zoe & Idris Rahman's Where Rivers Meet (Manushi Records, 2008), featuring four equally transporting Bengali vocalists, and a generally undiscovered gem among the profusion of jazz/world albums of the late noughties.
Track Listing: CD1: Mr Wyatt; Come Together; Droits Reserves; Addis Abeba; Nature Boy; Nina's Dream; La Mouche; Goodbye Tomorrow; Don't Stop; The Fly; Indigo Drum; Addis Abeba. CD2: Tarana; Saraswati; Yasy!; Anil; Tribute. CD3: Al Mediodia; Good News From The Desert; Avant L'Aube.
Personnel: Erik Truffaz: trumpet, voice; Sly Johnson: voice (CD1); Malcolm Braff: piano (CD2); Apurba Mukherjee: tablas (CD2); Indriani Mukherjee: voice (CD2); Murcof: electronica (CD3).
Record Label: Blue Note Records
Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock