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In the past, thirty-two year old French cellist Vincent Courtois has aligned himself with an impressive cast of musicians whether performing contemporary classical or sharpening his jazz/improv talents with the likes of; Martial Solal, Dave Douglas, Marc Ducret, Steve Swallow and many others of note. With his first major label release titled Translucide, Courtois performs a few solo pieces and some feisty duets with guitarist Noel Akchote’, tuba merchant Michel Godard and trombonist Yves Robert. On the title track - “Translucide”, the cellist and guitarist Noel Akchote’ implement oscillating electronics as Courtois renders pensive, probing lines atop the somewhat cyclic and rhythmically charged EFX. Courtois’ 10-minute solo endeavor, “Cadence du Milieu” melds a neo-classical type approach with heated perpetual movement as he skillfully utilizes legato while simultaneously conveying a sense of adventure via fervent improvisational speak which includes a dazzling exhibition towards the coda! Throughout, Courtois receives quite a bit of mileage from his equally adept guests, whether performing a 54 second duet with Akchote’ on the appropriately titled “Soft Distortions” featuring just that, or while trading soulful lines with tuba-ist Michel Godard on “Vol d’ Elephant (part II)”.
In summary, Translucide represents a curiously interesting affair from a fine technician who possesses an equally convincing approach. Here, Courtois offers the listener a compact, concise glimpse of his rather multidimensional talents while also exhibiting an expansive musical vocabulary as he states his cause in articulate fashion along with admirable help from his friends...* * * ½
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.