All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

118

Louis Sclavis Quintet: L'Affrontement des Pretendents

AAJ Staff By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
Louis Sclavis Quintet: L'Affrontement des Pretendents Clarinetist Louis Sclavis takes his group for a rollicking ride on L'affrontement des Prétendants, a wonderfully adventurous record of original tunes by the members of his new quintet. Sclavis has piled up a considerable discography of ensemble work, and this new one features a novel group of French musicians who have not previously recorded with Sclavis (except for bassist Bruno Chevillon). The music on L'affrontement flows with a natural cohesion, from the delicate ballad "Distances" to the mid-tempo polyrhythms of "Contre contre." The explosive freedom of the aptly titled "Possibles" leads into an off-kilter funk groove after a couple minutes. The connection may not be obvious, but it works.

A certain flavor of compositional rigor pervades many of the pieces on L'affrontement. These are generally not jams, improvised in the moment—rather, they tend to obey rules regarding tone, harmony, and pulse. For the most part, the group prefers to take structural ideas to their logical extremes. The sprawling concerto piece "Hommage a Lounes Matoub" launches from a gentle trumpet fanfare into an extended cello solo, then evolves into neo-tribal rhythms with plenty of room for everyone to stretch out. Cellist Vincent Courtois makes prominent appearances throughout, providing intermittent harmonic cues for the soloists. This piece is the cornerstone of the record, and it offers the most open space. The recurring North African theme reinforces the fact that Sclavis dedicated the piece to Algerian singer Lounes Matoub. (Yet another signal that this group remains acutely connected to French—and French colonial—culture.)

For a quintet record, L'affrontement offers a lot of space: the playing field rarely seems crowded. When the musicians get together, they really get together. Gentle lyricism, funk, polyrhythm, and the bell-clear melody all have a place here. This music represents a major step forward for Sclavis's ensemble conception, and it only helps that he chose a fresh collection of musicians to make the recording. (Spend some time checking out trumpeter Jean- Luc Cappozzo and cellist Vincent Courtois. They're worth it.) Listeners with a taste for organized freedom will find L'affrontement a keeper.


Track Listing: L'affrontement des prétendants; Distances; Contre contre; Hors les murs; Possibles; Hommage a Lounes Matoub; Le temps d'apres; Maputo introduction; Maputo; La memoire des mains.

Personnel: Louis Sclavis: clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone; Jean-Luc Cappozzo: trumpet; Vincent Courtois: cello; Bruno Chevillon: bass; Francois Merville: drums.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop For Jazz

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

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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