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Had this CD been received in 2008, it would surely have made my personal top-ten list. Canadian reed man Quinsin Nachoff aligns with French modern jazz artists, including the co-leader and drummer Bruno Tocanne. Sans a bassist, the four-man horns section generates an excitable string of musical notions, sparked with adventurous shifts in strategy. As Tocanne's resonating drum parts generate a heavy and vibrant bottom end.
Featuring beefy pulses, swaggering grooves and pause/restart type charts, the quintet delves into complex unison phrasings amid brisk soloing breakouts. Powerful, yet pliant, the hornists enjoy equal ground while soaring skyward via an aggressive methodology that yields the proverbial knockout blow. In a sense, they play tricks with neural networks while occasionally tempering the gala with soft voicings and modern classical environs, abetted by Nachoff's sublime clarinet work on "Goodbye Lullaby."
One of the more captivating highlights of many can be heard on "Cascade," where trumpeter Frederic Roudet solos in linear fashions within his band-mates swirling arrangements. Think of jagged lines intersecting a rotating circle. Hence, the band paints lucid portraitures of sound, contrasted with gobs of emotive attributes. And in other regions of the album, the musicians flirt with the free realm while skyrocketing into the ozone during the peppery jazz-rock groove titled "QL."
This is the type of product that progressive-jazz aficionados should welcome with open arms and attentive ears as the core foundation attains a near flawless coexistence with the improvisational element. Sparks are flying everywhere! It's a magnificent showcase that imparts a lasting impression.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.