168

Louis Sclavis: Lost on the Way

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Louis Sclavis: Lost on the Way French multi-reedist Louis Sclavis has involved himself in many modes of musical expression during a career which has spanned over 30 years, from free to folk to Baroque, and into the contemporary realm. His jazz perspective is European, which perhaps means having something of a chamber approach, and not much rooting in the blues—not unusual for an artist recording on the German-based ECM label.

On Lost on the Way, Sclavis and his quintet turn to the Greek writer Homer for a musical journey that begins with a gypsy atmosphere on "De Charybde en Scylla" and winds its way, ten tunes later, to a big groove on a deeply rock-tinged, seriously twenty-first century sound on "Des bruits à tisser."

Sclavis' lineup for the set seems, on the surface, a standard jazz grouping: two reeds, bass/guitar/drums. But Sclavis and company don't pretend to be playing anything close to standard jazz. Instead, it is well-crafted and personal music from an artist unafraid to explore fresh sonic ground.

On the web Sclavis tends to be tagged as a free player. While Lost on the Way certainly encompasses a good deal of improvisation, it also sounds quite structured beneath that freedom. The title tune hits a groove, with Matthieu Metzger and Sclavis' unison reed work melding into a modern electronica mood—in spite of the acoustic nature of the instruments—before the leader breaks free on bass clarinet, sounding a bit like Eric Dolphy fronting the seismic trudge of a hard charging rock combo. And when Metzger gets his turn on soprano sax, the energy level cranks up to an even higher level.

"Bain d'or" changes gears, giving off a Celtic vibe, while "Le sommeil des sirènes" opens with François Merville's subtle and very distinct drum ruminations before the alto sax searches and wanders, leading into a ramped up rhythm-team foray, with guitarist Maxime Delpierre giving a frantic, wailing, electro-Banshee voice to Homer's enticing sirens.

Sclavis is the leader, but the strength of his band is the key to the success here, with an adaptive rhythm section fronted by Merville, who can shred with an abandon steeped in finesse, and then move without a beat missed into nuanced comps and accompaniments.

An outstanding set, full of energy, adventure and surprise.

Track Listing: De Charybde en Scylla; La première île; Lost on the Way; Bain d'or; Le sommeil des sirènes; L'heure des songes; Aboard Ulysses's Boat; Les doutes du cyclope; Un vent noire; The Last Island; Des bruits à tisser; L'absence.

Personnel: Louis Sclavis: clarinets, soprano saxophone; Matthieu Metzger: soprano and alto saxophones; Maxime Delpierre: guitar; Olivier Lété: bass; François Merville: drums.

Title: Lost On The Way | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read The Crave CD/LP/Track Review The Crave
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub) CD/LP/Track Review Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub)
by Joe Gatto
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965 CD/LP/Track Review Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965
by Doug Collette
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "King of the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review King of the Blues
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2016
Read "And the Rhythm Serenaders" CD/LP/Track Review And the Rhythm Serenaders
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "Duke Ellington's Treasury Shows - Vol. 21" CD/LP/Track Review Duke Ellington's Treasury Shows - Vol. 21
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "Umbrella Weather" CD/LP/Track Review Umbrella Weather
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Simplicity" CD/LP/Track Review Simplicity
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 6, 2016
Read "Unlimited" CD/LP/Track Review Unlimited
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 3, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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