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Recorded live at the “Jazz a’ Mulhouse Festival”, The Contest of Pleasures is a subtly dynamic improvising extravaganza brought to us by three forward thinking European horn men; saxophonist John Butcher, clarinetist Xavier Charles and trumpeter Axel Dorner. With this newly issued outing, the musicians’ explore abstruse regions of sound amid odd voicings, high-pitched harmonies, intricate three-way dialogue, and mechanistic tonalities.
Here, the artists’ project kaleidoscopic and at times, hypnotic motifs, awash with raspy trills, percussive statements and daintily executed micro themes that seamlessly flow into diametric angles or converging proclamations. Throughout, a sense of transience prevails, as the musicians’ embark upon an evolutionary course that seemingly defies any discrete semblances of time and space. The Contest of Pleasures signifies a subliminal unification of the spirits. Thus, every whispery note, fleeting chorus and climactic episode speaks volumes, yet we would not expect anything less from this esteemed trio of master artisans. Recommended.