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ALBUM REVIEW

Pierre Favre Ensemble: Le Voyage

Read "Le Voyage" reviewed by Nic Jones

Pierre Favre is a scion of the improvisation scene in Europe and beyond. There's always been a reflective element in his drum and percussion work that suggests a slightly conservative disposition which has been manifested in a kind of politeness and reticence. Those two qualities in many respects sum up the music on this disc. While the antithesis of those qualities does not necessarily make for compelling music, in this case of this recording the overall mood is slightly soporific, ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Pierre Favre: Albatros

Read "Albatros" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Renowned Swiss drummer Pierre Favre imparts his kaleidoscopic tonal palette into these intricately exercised and probing duets with fellow countryman, guitarist Philipp Schaufelberger. The musicians cover a gamut of twists, turns and subtle theme building maneuvers, including airy environs and an abundance of tradeoffs. Moreover, Favre balances out the set with structured patterns and asymmetrical rhythms in concert with his melodic fills. “Seeing" presents an ambient vista, with Favre's delicate drumming and soft cymbal hits offering a ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Pierre Favre / Philipp Schaufelberger: Albatros

Read "Albatros" reviewed by Nic Jones

A sense of “music-minus-one" is pretty pervasive on Albatros. Regardless of what instrument is played, the presence of an additional musician might have elevated the music and the discourse from which it springs, to a more ear-catching level than that attained by this configuration of musicians. As it is, this duo of guitar and drums is marked by perfunctory air. The waddling progress of “Pino Caro" seems faintly contrived, while “Seeing"--all three-and-a-half minutes of it--is heavy with ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Pierre Favre / Samuel Blaser: Vol A Voile

Read "Vol A Voile" reviewed by Nic Jones

On one level, this program of trombone and drums duets possesses very little in the way of the sound of surprise, once the ear becomes accustomed to the sparseness of the lineup. Perhaps inevitably, this means that for all their obvious empathy, the musicians don't really grab the moment, nor do they ruffle the surface calm of the music they make. In view of the promise sometimes tantalizingly shown, this makes for a frustrating listen. Of the ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Pierre Favre: Fleuve

Read "Fleuve" reviewed by Budd Kopman

With Fleuve, drummer and percussionist Pierre Favre demonstrates that not only is he a master of his instrument, but he also has complete command in the fields of composition and arrangement.

The music dances (often literally), and is light, airy and transparent. Favre seems to go out of his way to choose instrumentation that works against such a result by being bottom-heavy: acoustic and electric bass, tuba, serpent and bass clarinet are included. However, to lighten things, soprano saxophone is ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Robin Williamson: The Iron Stone

Read "The Iron Stone" reviewed by John Kelman

Scottish singer/multi-instrumentalist Robin Williamson continues to mine the nexus of traditional song and free improvisation on The Iron Stone. Back from Skirting the River Road (ECM, 2002) are Mat Maneri (viola and Hardanger fiddle) and Swedish traditionalist Ale Möller (on a plethora of instruments plucked, pressed or blown), while renowned bassist Barre Phillips makes his first appearance with Williamson. Departing from Skirting's verse by Walt Whitman, William Blake and Henry Vaughan, Williamson looks to Walter Raleigh, Thomas Wyatt, John Clare ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Pierre Favre Ensemble: Fleuve

Read "Fleuve" reviewed by John Kelman

It's hard to imagine that a group as bottom-heavy as percussionist Pierre Favre's new ensemble could actually sound light and ethereal. But Fleuve does just that. With a septet featuring two basses, tuba/serpent, percussion and, at times, bass clarinet, there's no shortage of warmth and depth. But with guitar, harp and soprano saxophone fleshing out the middle and top end, Fleuve manages to have both weight and an airy ambience that works, in no small part, due to Favre's carefully ...


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