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ALBUM REVIEWS

Louis Sclavis / Dominique Pifarély / Vincent Courtois: Asian Fields Variations

Read "Asian Fields Variations" reviewed by John Kelman

Few artists on the ECM roster reinvent themselves as regularly--and with such consistent success--as Louis Sclavis. While it is true that the French clarinetist (and occasional soprano/baritone saxophonist) often draws (and re-draws) from a gradually expanding pool of musicians, there are few label mates who have released as many albums as Sclavis, where the lineups literally change with each and every album. In fact, the closest he's come to repeating the same lineup back-to-back has been with his most recent, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Louis Sclavis Quartet: Silk and Salt Melodies

Read "Silk and Salt Melodies" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Iranian zarb (diagonally positioned drum)performer Kevyan Chemirani adds a worldly and exotic aspect to prominent French clarinetist, composer Louis Scalvis' band, featuring guitarist Gilles Coronado and keyboardist Benjamin Moussay who have performed with the leader on his Atlas Trio album, Sources (ECM Records, 2011). Sclavis' highly praised and disparate body of work for ECM Records is essentially unclassifiable, via his uniquely articulated jazz components, also framed on classical, free-improvisation, jazz fusion and world music persuasions. As a soloist, his resonant ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Louis Sclavis Quartet: Silk and Salt Melodies

Read "Silk and Salt Melodies" reviewed by John Kelman

After reinventing himself with a completely revamped ensemble on Sources (ECM, 2012), reed multi-instrumentalist Louis Sclavis expands the purviews and possibilities of his Atlas Trio by adding percussionist Keyvan Chemirani to the mix for Silk and Salt Melodies. Sclavis has, in his 33-year career as a leader--and since coming to ECM Records in 1991 with the recording of Rouge (1992)--made a life's work of regular reinvention, both contextually in terms of lineup and stylistically through a broad cross-section of projects ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Louis Sclavis Quartet: Silk and Salt Melodies

Read "Silk and Salt Melodies" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

With its ancient roots and latter-day association with New Orleans, Dixieland and swing, the clarinet isn't often a frontline instrument in modern jazz let alone avant-garde. A handful of players such as Don Byron and Marty Ehrlich have aided in its prominence but not many. In the hands of Louis Sclavis the bass clarinet is not only a deterrent against conformist thinking; it is an instrument with greatly expanded borders and characteristics. Sclavis incorporates European chamber music, Middle-Eastern samazens and ...

INTERVIEWS

Louis Sclavis: Maps of the Mind

Read "Louis Sclavis: Maps of the Mind" reviewed by Ian Patterson

"My music? I know what it is, and I don't know what it is. It's a paradox." Now entering his fifth decade as a recording artist, multi-reedist/composer Louis Sclavis may not have a clear handle on the music he makes, but he has absorbed the lessons of all the music he has turned his hand to, from free jazz to film scores, from African music to neoclassical composition. Listening to Sources (2012), Sclavis' ninth release on the ECM label--and his ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Louis Sclavis Atlas Trio: Sources

Read "Sources" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Multi-reedist, composer and improviser Louis Sclavis' ninth release for ECM sees this eternally restless seeker of new sounds and textures heading once more into personally unchartered territory; this is the first time Sclavis has led a trio of clarinet, guitar and piano. In guitarist Gilles Coronado and pianist Benjamin Mouassy, Sclavis has recruited open-minded musicians with the technique, discipline and imagination necessary to give life to his sketches of musical ideas, where formal structure and free rein co-exist in such ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Louis Sclavis Atlas Trio: Sources

Read "Sources" reviewed by John Kelman

It's not uncommon for artists to shake things up by changing personnel to explore roads previously untraveled, but few push themselves so relentlessly into new territory through revamped instrumentation as Louis Sclavis. Still, since coming to ECM with the auspicious Rouge (1992), the French clarinetist/saxophonist has always maintained continuity between recordings--cellist Vincent Courtois carried over from Dans La Nuit (2002) to Napoli's Walls (2003), and percussionist François Merville showing up on L'imparfait des langues (2007) and Lost Along the Way ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Louis Sclavis: Lost On The Way

Read "Lost On The Way" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Clash of the jazz titans! Miles Davis famously remarked that the late Eric Dolphy played “like someone was standing on his feet." An uncharacteristically bad bit of timing for Davis: his comments appeared in print just after the tragically early death of the great multi-reedsman in 1964. Many years later, it is possible both to find Davis's comment kind of true and pretty funny, while still loving Dolphy's music.Louis Sclavis has subtly, and probably unwittingly, bridged the divide ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Louis Sclavis: Lost on the Way

Read "Lost on the Way" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Louis Sclavis: Lost on the Way

Read "Lost on the Way" reviewed by John Kelman

Over the course eight albums, French clarinetist/saxophonist Louis Sclavis has carved his own niche on ECM. Every album possesses a different complexion--from the acoustic free play of Acoustic Quartet (1994) and aggressively open-ended variations of composer Jean-Phillip Rameau's work on Les Violences de Rameau (1996) to the more structured soundtrack for Charles Vanel's 1929 film, Dans La Nuit (2002) and outstanding writing on the oftentimes knotty but always captivating L'affrontement des prétendants (2001). As different as each project is--including 2007's ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Louis Sclavis: L'imparfait des langues

Read "L'imparfait des langues" reviewed by Budd Kopman

L'imparfait des langues represents an attempt by reedman Louis Sclavis to challenge himself compositionally by incorporating new features into his working musical vocabulary while increasing the level of unpredictability. The resulting work is, perhaps surprisingly, the closest thing to a “jazz" album that he has produced. While encouraging change, Sclavis nevertheless has a style that is hard to define, but recognizable with familiarity. A discernible Sclavis habit is to change instrumentation and musicians from ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Louis Sclavis: L'imparfait des langues

Read "L'imparfait des langues" reviewed by John Kelman

Music has long been considered a universal language, with a syntactical potential as broad as the artists who create it. While it's not always easy to articulate in non-musical terms, it's the specific way concept is translated into sound that distinguishes any artist. Clarinetist/saxophonist Louis Sclavis has yet to record two albums for ECM with the same lineup, but on L'imparfait des langues he's intentionally placed himself in unknown territory by assembling a new group with whom (drummer François Merville ...