Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
117

Louis Sclavis: Dans la nuit

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Louis Sclavis: Dans la nuit The ever-unresolved paradox of soundtracks is that in some sense they require a film to make "sense" of the music. But of course, there's also a delicious puzzle in listening to that very same music on its own. Such an experience can allow imagination to run rampant, taking moods and contrasts in sound and translating them into mental imagery.

In the particular case of French clarinetist Louis Sclavis's soundtrack for Charles Vanel's 1930 film Dans la nuit, most listeners would be hard-pressed to get their hands on this recently-restored silent movie. So we must be content to listen, allowing the music to lead us wherever it's headed—filling in a walk through town, the sudden interruption of a door swinging open, the intensity of conversation, or the open space of a daydream. Sclavis has done a wonderful job in this respect, providing a surprisingly wide range of colors and textures. The Old World sounds of clarinet, accordion, and strings resonate throughout (Sclavis hails from Lyons, just like Vanel). And for the most part, the tone of Dans la nuit tends toward the softer side of neutral. While there's a light, lilting jazz element in many pieces here, Sclavis clearly built them upon a compositional framework. And rather than take advantage of the full density possible with this instrumentation, the quintet mostly prefers to lie low and let individual voices sing with clarity and nuance.

Highlights from the disc include the stark and gentle minimalism of "Retour de noce"; the budding energy and counterpoint of "Le travail"; and the fun rhythmic group interplay on "La fuite." Three versions of the title track offer alternate takes on a sentimental, romantic theme. Listeners with a limited tolerance for Old World romanticism are strongly encouraged to look elsewhere, but for listeners without this handicap, this is interesting stuff.

It's hard to know how much we're missing without the film that accompanies this soundtrack, but in the end it doesn't really matter. The lack of explicit imagery allows this music to suggest people and events through implication. Sclavis, who's repeatedly proven his insight and vision in other settings, stands out in this context and catalyzes some wonderfully evocative playing. Highly recommended.

Visit ECM Records on the web.


Track Listing: Dia Dia; Le Travail; Dans La Nuit; Fete Foraine; Retour De Noce; Mauvais Reve; Amour Et Beaute; L'Accident Part 1; L'Accident Part 2; Le Miroir; Dans La Nuit; La Fuite; La Peur Du Noir; Les 2 Visages; Dia Dia; Dans La Nuit.

Personnel: Louis Sclavis: clarinets; Jean Louis Matinier: accordion; Dominique Pifarely: violin; n; Vincent Courtois: cello; Francois Merville: drums, marimba; Jean Louis Matinier: accordion.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Silk and Salt Melodies
Silk and Salt Melodies
ECM Records
2015
buy
Silk and Salt Melodies
Silk and Salt Melodies
ECM Records
2014
buy
[no cover]
Chine / Chamber Music
Label Bleu
2013
buy
Sources
Sources
ECM Records
2012
buy
[no cover]
Eldorado Trio
Label Bleu
2010
buy
Lost On The Way
Lost On The Way
ECM Records
2009
buy
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
John Zorn John Zorn
sax, alto
Enrico Rava Enrico Rava
trumpet
Carla Bley Carla Bley
piano
Jimmy Giuffre Jimmy Giuffre
clarinet
William Parker William Parker
bass, acoustic
Paul Motian Paul Motian
drums
Thomas Chapin Thomas Chapin
saxophone
Paul Bley Paul Bley
piano
Marc Ribot Marc Ribot
guitar
Bobo Stenson Bobo Stenson
piano
John Surman John Surman
saxophone

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.