Francois Carrier: Entrance 3 (2011)
Some artists have a way of synthesizing various modes and trends in their craft, so that their art comes off as all-inclusive and incredibly original. Canadian saxophonist François Carrier is one such artist. On Entrance 3, he bridges modern free jazz and mid-1960s post-bop, with guest pianist Bobo Stenson and his working trio of bassist Pierre Côté and drummer Michel Lambert.
Recorded in 2002 at the Vancouver Jazz Festival, this disc presents Carrier and company in their best format, a live setting. The altoist's live music has been well-documented with The Digital Box (Ayler Records, 2010), a download-only set of seven sessions. He has also played live with Gary Peacock, Paul Bley, Mat Maneri, Tomasz Stanko, and Dewey Redman, to name just a few.
Credit for the Vancouver concert goes to the trio as a working unit. Carrier, Côté, and Lambert display exceptional chemistry throughout, and the addition of the Swedish pianist doesn't break their stride, inviting comparison to John Coltrane's classic quartet. They certainly take plenty of clues from their 1960s guides. The disc opens with the title track from All'Alba (Justin Time, 2003), along with three other songs from that studio session, which featured pianist Uri Caine.
Like the opener, the closing "L'Etang," with its growling bass introduction, shares inspiration from Coltrane's A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1964). The tracks are paved with an inspired spirituality and forceful thrust. With Stenson's piano rippling energetic waves, Carrier ignites a feverish sound that surprisingly comes, not from a tenor saxophone (Coltrane's instrument, along with soprano), but his alto. Côté is rock-solid throughout, providing a stable platform for these compositions. The trio plus Stenson perform an inspired set here, worthy of its comparison to the Coltrane sound.
Track Listing: All'Alba; Lekh Leka; Entrance 3; L'Etang.
Personnel: François Carrier: alto saxophone; Pierre Côté: bass; Michel Lambert: drums; Bobo Stenson: piano.