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Erik Truffaz: The Mask

Jim Santella By

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Erik Truffaz's sweet, open trumpet tone reveals the influence of a 1970s Miles Davis. The Fender Rhodes with echo serves to drive that message home. Most of the compilation employs acoustic bass and a tasteful drummer in the mainstream jazz tradition. However, it's the French trumpeter's intimacy with Davis' fusion periods that takes center stage. From the small town of Gex, ten miles from the French/Swiss border, Truffaz got his early training working with his father's dance band. His formal training came later at the Geneva Conservatoire where the trumpeter studied composition, theory and technique.

Each track is an original, composed by the quartet. Truffaz wrote "Betty," a light, lyrical waltz with open trumpet, acoustic piano and acoustic bass. A vocal-like trumpet message becomes soaked in the piano's overlapping harmony. The title track - a modal, fusion number - combines rock drumming with electric bass and Fender Rhodes around Truffaz's meandering trumpet melody. "Less" and "More" follow in the same tradition, with one employing minimalist traits, while the other adds more electronic echo and a tightly muted Harmon sound. While "No Choice" takes an acoustic piano approach with upright bass and open trumpet, the comfortable quartet style weaves modern mainstream drama around a bright, uplifting harmony. Elsewhere, an electronic trumpet device with echo, and a forward-leaning quartet recall the later fusion experiments of Miles. Although Erik Truffaz treads step-for-step too close to the shadow of Miles Davis, his quartet captures the essence of a searching ensemble that is looking in all the right directions.


Track Listing: Sweet Mercy; Arroyo; More; Less; No Choice; The Mask; The Dawn; Betty; Bending New Corners; Minaret; And.

Personnel: Erik Truffaz: trumpet; Patrick Muller: piano, Fender Rhodes; Marcello Giuliani: bass; Marc Erbetta: drums, percussion.

Title: The Mask | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

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