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
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