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 premiére 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 noir; 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.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Soul Garden CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Authorized Bang Collection CD/LP/Track Review The Authorized Bang Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "From the Heart" CD/LP/Track Review From the Heart
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Mediterrana" CD/LP/Track Review Mediterrana
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: July 14, 2016
Read "Disorder at the Border Plays Ornette" CD/LP/Track Review Disorder at the Border Plays Ornette
by Nicola Negri
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Closer To The Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Closer To The Sun
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Fugitive Beauté" CD/LP/Track Review Fugitive Beauté
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone" CD/LP/Track Review Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared...
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 13, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!