Sunday, May 11, 2014

Francois Tusques with Alexandra Grimal and Sylvain Guerineau - la jungle du douanier rousseau (Improvising Beings, 2014)

French pianist and composer Francois Tusques came up playing jazz in post war France and was a close associate of expatriate Americans like Don Cherry and The Art Ensemble of Chicago during the late 1960's. On this album he keeps that exploratory spirit alive in the company of Alexandra Grimal and Sylvain Guerineau both on tenor saxophone. For the most part, the saxophonists are in different channels of the stereo spectrum, on the left side, a raw and gruff sound and on the right a lighter and airier sound. Forgive me for not knowing which musician has which particular channel and sound. After an opening piano introduction to fellow influential pianist Dick Twardzick, Tusques leads the trio into a series of collective improvisations. Fine examples of this can be found on "Au Chat qui peche" where the light and dark tones of the horn players are juxtaposed like elemental beings of earth and air. "Orgue a bouche" ups the ante even further with both saxophones developing their intensity in search of a Coltrane-like free jazz ecstatic bliss. "Don Cherry Blue" nods to that trickster figure with an impish motif allowing for the saxophonists to develop a light and flowing improvisational nature. The culminating performance "Move The Blues" builds a Monkish piano figure around which the saxophones drift in and around the piano which holds the central position. The saxophones become raw and defiant but eventually yield to the bouncing piano and well deserved applause at the end of the program. la jungle du douanier rousseau - Improvising Beings