After reinventing himself with a completely revamped ensemble on Sources (ECM, 2012), reed multi-instrumentalist Louis Sclavis expands the purviews and possibilities of his Atlas Trio by adding percussionist Keyvan Chemirani to the mix for Silk and Salt Melodies. Sclavis has, in his 33-year career as a leader--and since coming to ECM Records in 1991 with the recording of Rouge (1992)--made a life's work of regular reinvention, both contextually in terms of lineup and stylistically through a broad cross-section of projects ranging from the fully unplugged, improv-heavy but still composition-based Acoustic Quartet (1994) and image-inspired blend of form and freedom on ...read more
With its ancient roots and latter-day association with New Orleans, Dixieland and swing, the clarinet isn't often a frontline instrument in modern jazz let alone avant-garde. A handful of players such as Don Byron and Marty Ehrlich have aided in its prominence but not many. In the hands of Louis Sclavis the bass clarinet is not only a deterrent against conformist thinking; it is an instrument with greatly expanded borders and characteristics. Sclavis incorporates European chamber music, Middle-Eastern samazens and free jazz in his ambitious and literate compositions. Silk and Salt Melodies speaks to Sclavis' years of shaping a world ...read more
"My music? I know what it is, and I don't know what it is. It's a paradox." Now entering his fifth decade as a recording artist, multi-reedist/composer Louis Sclavis may not have a clear handle on the music he makes, but he has absorbed the lessons of all the music he has turned his hand to, from free jazz to film scores, from African music to neoclassical composition. Listening to Sources (2012), Sclavis' ninth release on the ECM label--and his first with his exciting new Atlas Trio--what is most striking is how, after all these years, Sclavis refuses to revisit ...read more
Multi-reedist, composer and improviser Louis Sclavis' ninth release for ECM sees this eternally restless seeker of new sounds and textures heading once more into personally unchartered territory; this is the first time Sclavis has led a trio of clarinet, guitar and piano. In guitarist Gilles Coronado and pianist Benjamin Mouassy, Sclavis has recruited open-minded musicians with the technique, discipline and imagination necessary to give life to his sketches of musical ideas, where formal structure and free rein co-exist in such close symbiosis that the two are not always easily distinguishable. Contemporary classical ruminations, pulsing funk, subtle European and North African ...read more
It's not uncommon for artists to shake things up by changing personnel to explore roads previously untraveled, but few push themselves so relentlessly into new territory through revamped instrumentation as Louis Sclavis. Still, since coming to ECM with the auspicious Rouge (1992), the French clarinetist/saxophonist has always maintained continuity between recordings--cellist Vincent Courtois carried over from Dans La Nuit (2002) to Napoli's Walls (2003), and percussionist François Merville showing up on L'imparfait des langues (2007) and Lost Along the Way (2009) five years after Dans La Nuit. With Atlas Trio's Sources, however, the ever-searching Sclavis eschews all past ECM affiliations ...read more
Aki Takase is making a real burden for herself with this the latest in her hopefully ongoing series of Intakt releases. With every successive one it's not just a simple matter of the quality going up but rather a matter of different facets of her ability being revealed. As these releases have all been documents of duos, the effect is almost rhetorical, as if she's intent on making a case for that sparse setting and what can be achieved in it.
There's diversity within that body of work too, just as there is within this program. Louis Sclavis' modest raft ...read more
Clash of the jazz titans! Miles Davis famously remarked that the late Eric Dolphy played like someone was standing on his feet." An uncharacteristically bad bit of timing for Davis: his comments appeared in print just after the tragically early death of the great multi-reedsman in 1964. Many years later, it is possible both to find Davis's comment kind of true and pretty funny, while still loving Dolphy's music.Louis Sclavis has subtly, and probably unwittingly, bridged the divide between the two jazz giants on the best parts of Lost on the Way. From Dolphy, Sclavis and his confreres ...read more
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