Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

61

Guillaume de Chassy: Silences

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
Guillaume de Chassy: Silences Pianist Guillaume de Chassy insists that Silences is inspired by the example of clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre's late-1950s trio recordings. To be sure, like those records, this album is marked by intimacy and introspection, a strong clarinet sound and no drummer. But Silences, recorded at a French abbey, doesn't sound much like Giuffre's records—nor indeed, like much of jazz, at first blush.

It's not at first clear just what this piano-clarinet-bass formation is up to. The helpfully titled "Birth of a Trio" provides clues. It shows just how much this music shares with jazz—improvisation, first of all; and empathy, the musicians listening closely to each other, as for example when de Chassy's piano sidles up to Thomas Savy's soaring clarinet. "Trio" also demonstrates what's classical about the record: its language and grammar. Savy's clarinet is pure Mozart, clean and free of vibrato or the blues.

Most tracks here adapt classical compositions. The record begins, for example, with an aggressive and mechanical sounding piano-bass pulse in the opening of "Du côté de chez Poulenc (Part I)," in striking contrast to the lovely Poulenc melody "Les chemins de l'amour," played by Savy. In a second take (Part II), the melody is played sensitively by each of the trio members in turn, with arco bass by Arnault Cuisiner and bass clarinet by Savy.

The inclusion of two Shostakovich piano preludes, meanwhile, might recall pianist Keith Jarrett's tackling of the same material on Shostakovich: 24 Preludes & Fugues op. 87 (ECM, 1992). Jarrett played those numbers straight. De Chassy's trio does something more than that, and more than merely transcribing solo piano numbers for different instrumentation. And yet, the musicians don't go as far as keyboardist Uri Caine has done on his series of records, his big jazz group rather rambunctiously playing symphonic numbers as though they wished they were really a symphony orchestra, as on the fine Gustav Mahler in Toblach (Winter & Winter, 1999). De Chassy is freer than Jarrett, but substantially more restrained than Caine in his approach to the classical repertoire.

The musical atmosphere of Silences may not be surprising, coming as it does from a classically trained pianist. On the other hand, de Chassy has spent the better part of the last decade in a rigorous and systematic exploration of the sources of beauty in popular song, whether Rodgers and Hart, Pink Floyd or French wartime chansons. The only explicit acknowledgement here of the lessons learned during that quest for beauty is the lush reading of the theme song to Raymond Bernard's 1945 film Adieu Chérie.

And it's just enough: "Adieu Chérie" echoes faintly in the vaguely jazz harmony de Chassy deploys underneath Savy's thoroughly classical clarinet toward the close of "Silences (Part II)," and at other moments as well.

A departure in many ways, Silences is nevertheless of a piece with de Chassy's earlier work: it's disciplined, restrained, beautiful—and, in its subtle way, hugely inventive.


Track Listing: Du côté de chez Poulenc (Part I); Du côté de chez Chostakovich (Part I); Birth of a Trio; Du côté de chez Poulenc (Part II); Majeur; Du côté de chez Prokofiev; Silences (Part I); Silences (Part II); Du côté de chez Schubert; Adieu Chérie; Du côté de chez Chostakovich (Part II); Silences (Part III).

Personnel: Guillaume de Chassy: piano; Thomas Savy: clarinets; Arnault Cuisinier: double bass.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Bee Jazz | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
Read Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival CD/LP/Track Review Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival
Read Stinger CD/LP/Track Review Stinger
Read Binary CD/LP/Track Review Binary
Read Piano Song CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
Read "WANDERlust" CD/LP/Track Review WANDERlust
Read "Twin Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Twin Talk
Read "Live At Umbria Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Umbria Jazz
Read "Old Locks And Irregular Verbs" CD/LP/Track Review Old Locks And Irregular Verbs
Read "The Caustic Ballads" CD/LP/Track Review The Caustic Ballads

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!