French trumpeter Erik Truffaz proves again to be a jazz non-conformist on his fourth US Blue Note release, where he exploits the musical elements of hard rock, funk, psychedelia, dance, and jazz in grand fashion. On last year's notable Mantis,
which featured nice guitar work, Arab vocals, and unusual instruments, he showed no fear in blurring the boundaries of various musical genres. The similarities to Miles Davis fusion works are unmistakable; and like Miles, Truffaz seems to be somewhat of a music explorer who will not settle for the jazz status quo.
While Mantis featured a heavy drum-n-bass influence, The Walk of the Giant Turtle is more rock oriented. Truffaz admittedly listened more to the rock group Led Zeppelin than Miles Davis growing up, and three selections feature head-banger excursions. With feedback, echo effects, and over-amped mikes, the record makes one swear that a distorted Stratocaster is in the mix. Truffaz's trumpet is at times electronically wired, giving the illusion of a wild guitar solo on selections such "King B." The technology highlights the music yet never becomes gimmicky or overstated.
Truffaz uses a minimalist approach to his playing. His solos incorporate sparse notes and delayed timing with an emphasis on creating the right mood for each composition. This band features a tight group of musicians with whom the trumpeter has toured and performed for many years. The quartet shines on "Seven Skies," featuring an extreme keyboard solo from Muller as well as strong rhythm work from bassist Marcello Giuliani and drummer Marc Erbetta. These varied selections include equal portions that are hypnotic, mesmerizing, and rhythmic, such as the title selection and the moody "Flamingos." Whether you want to chill out, party, or rock your head off, this is music that should be cranked up all the way on your volume setting.
The enchanced CD also features a quicktime movie of a live studio performance.
Personnel: Erik Truffaz: trumpet, effects; Patrick Muller: keyboards, synths;
Marcello Giuliani: bass; Marc Erbetta: drums.