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Lucien Dubuis' Swiss trio has had a long association with guitarist Marc Ribot. He might even have been the inspiration for the reedman, bassist/guitarist Roman Nowka, and drummer Lionel Friedli to form their group. So when the New York guitarist joins them for Ultime Cosmos, there is bound be fireworks.
The Lucien Dubuis Trio has released Le Retour (Unit Records, 2007) and Tovorak (Self Produced, 2005), both bearing the mark of Ribot's early bands: Rootless Cosmopolitans, The Lounge Lizards, and Shrek. Although Dubuis does not play guitar, (he mostly restles the huge contrabass clarinet), he revels in twisting sounds and creating noises not unlike Ribot's shredding guitar sound.
The trio is a barbarous jazz band with attitude, much like Mats Gustafsson's The Thing, but the addition of Ribot completes the band. The music remains in the attack mode with hip-hop attitude, funky beats, and avant squeals and squeaks, but the perspective shifts a bit with Ribot's disturbance factor. The band turns the mock dub inflections of "Bal Les Masques!" from sleepy Jamaican head-nod into Cuban burner; also, thanks to Ribot, the monsters-of-rock "Ayarashiki" scales some guitar hero bravado.
The groovy rhythm guitar of "Future Rock 1" is, at under a minute-and-a-half, just a taste of delicious funk. Dubuis also draws from Frank Zappa with jump cut dynamics on "Djidjzd" and the screwy spoken piece, "Shit Love." The trio's approach is often farcical and mischievous. The contrabass clarinet's blop-blop-blops in the lowest of registers allows for the much quicker players to solo, accent, and improvise around him. When he takes up the alto saxophone on "La Danse Des Machines" and "Djidjzd," speed and rigor mark the playing. The band can negotiate tight corners with precision, or unbundle a tune like the simple folksy "Do You Know The Way To My Home" and the twisted children's melody "Echo Noire," making them into nervous hipster anthems.
With Ribot in tow, the Lucien Dubuis trio finds multiple avenues for advancing the creative edginess of jazz.
The CD is accompanied by a DVD with several short films. One documents this recording and a second of the trio. The others are concert videos of the trio in New York with Ribot.
Track Listing: Ultimate Cosmos; Bal Les Masques!; Echo Noire; Ayarashiki; Future Rock 1; Djidjzd; Space Invaders; La Danse Des Machines; Future Rock 2; Insomnie; Shit Love; Do You Know The Way To My Home.
Personnel: Lucien Dubuis: alto saxophone, contrabass clarinet; Roman Nowka: bass, guitar, vocals; lionel Friedli: drums; Marc Ribot: guitar.