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Reviews

Benoît Delbecq Trio — The Sixth Jump
(Songlines SGL 1585-2, 2010, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Scott Steele, Published 2011-06-01

The Sixth Jump Cover art

Piano trios can be a gnarly musical beast. In the case of pianist Delbecq, trio pieces transpire in real time, with a quiet classy reserve that gently tugs the listener through subtle changes. “Poursuite” is an excellent example of this. Delbecq has some Andrew Hill overtones, which don’t suppress his own brilliant voice. Upright bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel, (long-time Steve Lacy sideman) has the sensitivity of J.-F. Jenny-Clarke, as exhibited on the introduction to “Letter to György L.” Drummer Emile Biayenda pitter-pats the toms to begin another mid-tempo excursion for the trio, where Delbecq goes a bit further out on an careful improvisation limb, but with plenty of line to reel himself back in. “Piano Page” was looped together by engineer Steve Arguelles after the notes were originally played and is a fascinating effort. He uses at least two keyboard phrases set up contrarily to each that creates a creepy unsettled feeling. The overall tone of the recording is traditionally ECM-like, infusing influences from outside of jazz (specifically world music as heard on “Le Même Jour”). The sound of pouring water disturbs the sonic map on “Le Sixième Saut,” where the trio relies on what seems like blind-man hand-waving to determine its direction. Avenel’s most passionate bowed playing on the disk-closer “Point de la Courte Dune / Bass Page,” which gets into a linear groove propelled by Biayenda’s careful and insistent rhythm keeping. Overall the disc represents a strong beacon of light on collective improvisation.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2010 releases

Related artist(s): Benoît Delbecq

 

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