Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

168

Louis Sclavis: Lost on the Way

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
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

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Read more articles
Asian Fields Variations

Asian Fields...

ECM Records
2017

buy
Sources

Sources

ECM Records
2012

buy
 

Eldorado Trio

Label Bleu
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Higher Album Reviews
Higher
By Tyran Grillo
May 26, 2019
Read The Unlonely Raindancer Album Reviews
The Unlonely Raindancer
By Matt Parker
May 26, 2019
Read Pyramid Scheme Album Reviews
Pyramid Scheme
By Mark Sullivan
May 26, 2019
Read Mosaismic Album Reviews
Mosaismic
By Mike Jurkovic
May 26, 2019
Read Caldera / Sky Islands Album Reviews
Caldera / Sky Islands
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 25, 2019
Read Baby, Please Come Home Album Reviews
Baby, Please Come Home
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019
Read Reckless Heart Album Reviews
Reckless Heart
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019