Composed by Erik Truffaz
All Music Guide
========= from the cover ==========
Erik Truffaz grew up in Gex, a small border town in the Ain region of eastern France just next Switzerland, and he felt the constant lure of the border, which he was to cross to learn his trade in Geneva, the window of the world. Since that time, he has crossed many borders with his group. After a long spell with his quintet, he felt he was ready for the more exacting demands of the quartet format and decided to team up once more with the rhythm section that had stood him in such good stead. Indeed, the entry of the bass and drums on Downtown, the opening piece on Truffaz's first record for Blue Note, we are at once struck by their presence at a tempo reminiscent of the classic duo of Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. On the following piece, Out of a Dream, set in a totally different register, we succumb to the fervent sensivity with which Patrick Muller, Marcello Giuliani and Marc Erbetta fill up the space in the music. The precious fibres of the luthier's wood are set in motion by the gut strings on the barely amplified bass of Marcello Giuliani, a worthy disciple of Charlie Haden. In Beaute Bleue, we hear in particular Marc Erbetta lashing the drums, then relentlessly beating out the rhythm on the cymbals, creating a haze of harmonics that thickens then suddenly condenses at the start of the piano solo, as the rhythm section explodes into life, as though the thread of improvisation has suddenly snapped under the tension of the drums behind the bugle. The piano of Patrick Muller, ably melting into the background behind the soloist, laying out a carpet of chords beneath his feet, spurring him on, extending an idea here and a certain sound there, slipping back effortlessly into the chorus, stopping the left hand for a few bars, pushing the soloist on with discrete notes in the right hand register enveloped in a harmonic halo, or carrying him along with a flurry of block chords.
Saxophonist Cyrille Bugnon, fresh from his experiences in New York, sounds equally relaxed tackling breakneck tempos (Uptown) and the most solid tempos (Indigo). But if he pops up here and there to add emphasis to a few themes, his role nevertheless remains that of a guest musician. By omitting a fifth voice and imposing a narrower range of timbres in the choruses, Erik Truffaz reveals the full extent of his dramatic art. From the opening statement (Downtown) to its final reprise (Uptown), followed by an encore in the form of a berceuse (Betty), every sound appears absolutely necessary. Each solo is an extension of the initial statement, which itself never seems to reappear. The final statement, however, is different, it is more intense, more expressive. It signals not so much a return as a logical ending to the preceding choruses. It is fascinating to listen to Truffaz's natural lyricism smoothing over the joins between recurring statements in Wet in Pahs. This seventeen-bar cycle spirals relentlessly upwards, while the reference points slip into infinity. They are still there, recurring and perfectly clear, but never appear in the expected place; they are shifted, transposed, altered, at once familiar and yet strange, leading the listener into an auditory Lewis Carroll universe, where rabbits wear waistcoats and pocket watches. The world here is turned on its head, with the piano improvising almost unbeknown to us while our attention is fixed on the elusive refrains of the two accompanying horns. Elusive and yet immediately recognizable; this seems a fair description of Erik Truffaz's writing, whether in wide intervals, as in Out of a Dream, or in stepwise melodic fragments in Saisir. His writing is drawn by his natural lyricism towards the two extremes of clear statement and remote alteration of the melody. His instruments (bugle and trumpet) resonate in sympathy with his writing style; supple and yet straining with effort, simultaneously clear and veiled by some mysterious halo. It is no surprise that the album takes its title from the piece Out of a Dream: the music of Erik Truffaz constantly skirts the border of dreams, and for this reason is so captivating.
- Franck Bergerot (Jazzman)