Friday, August 21, 2009

Louis Sclavis - Lost on the Way (ECM, 2009)

Louis Sclavis is a saxophonist, clarinetist and composer who has a unique and interesting conception of jazz, drawing on French folk music and European and American jazz to create an enjoyable mixture. On this album, he is joined by Matthieu Metzger on soprano and alto saxophones, Maxime Delpierre on guitar, Olivier Lété on bass and François Merville on drums. "De Charybde en Scylla" begins the album with a medium up-tempo feel, anchored by cool, swirling clarinet. The music has a Mediterranean or middle eastern sound, which is at the same time exotic and familiar. "La première île" has slow and inquiring tone, getting a slightly ominous sound with rumbling bass and drums and alarm like saxophone accents. This gives way to the title track which has saxophone anchored by some nice think sounding bass, building to an intense improvisation at an exciting pace. "Bain d'or" has a sweet, gentle and folkish melody, with bubbling bass, electric guitar and percussion creating a nice foundation. "Le sommeil des sirènes" has a slow building and dark feel, with probing saxophone and guitar. Things pick up later in the track with the introduction of rockish drumming and snarling electric guitar. "Les doutes du cyclope" has a multi-horn opening that makes way for soprano saxophone backed by grooving electric bass and drums. Delpierre's guitar sparks interesting accents, adding intensity to the music. This was a nice open ended jazz album with attractive use of clarinet, guitar and electric bass. The compositions are fresh and consistently interesting and the improvisation and musicianship are on a very high level.
Lost on the Way -

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