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A disciple of Miles Davis' fusion/electric years, trumpeter Erik Truffaz has provided his own sounds of fusion for many years and quite impressively by cultivating many influences into this "not so new wave of jazz that younger artists are now discovering. His new release, Saloua, finds him back with a signature style that uses everything from jazz, rock and world-beat to voice and hip hop.
Reminiscent of his stylized recordings Mantis (Blue Note,2002) and The Dawn; Truffaz uses his muted trumpet in whispery tones which are never overplayed yet also commanding. He's got the chops but the main thrust behind his sound is the art of layering the groove against a variety of global and contemporary sounds like touches of Middle Eastern music ("Saloua"), reggae ("Dubophone ), or the galactic electronica "Spirale.
Backed by artists who have recorded with the trumpeter and speak the same language, the vernacular includes sampled sounds, loops, and other electronics as well as solid musicianship. Added are the voices of Tunisian singer Mounir Troudi and Swiss rapper Nya on various selections to keep the music even more interesting. On the title selection singer Troudi's Middle East dialect is strange but also tantalizing when mixed with Trufazz's blustery horn. Guitarist Manu Codija continues to impress with a variety of cool riffs, augmented sounds, and smoking rock solos.
The music would fit comfortably in international street markets and dance clubs as well as jazz venues. "Big Wheel totes a reggae beat with Nya providing some nice street poetry, while the politically-conscious "Yabous combines a hip melody with voice and rap. The odd song out is the thrash rocker "Ghost Drummer which seems to be a carry over from Truffaz's The Walk of the Giant Turtle (Blue Note,2003). But all-in-all this is another worthy recording by the modernist trumpeter.