Exposé Online banner

Le Rex — Wild Man
(Cuneiform Rune 411, 2015, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-03-09

Wild Man Cover art

There’s one trend in music around the world that I’m really enjoying these days: the proliferation of groups with unconventional instrumentation, specifically combinations lacking keyboards or guitar. Of course, there have always been such bands, but it seems like there are a number of them going these days producing really interesting music. Switzerland’s Le Rex is a perfect example, with two saxes (alto and tenor), a trombone, and a tuba. Oh, yes, and a drummer. They draw on various traditions of horn music, like New Orleans, klezmer, and so on, but add a lot of twists, like the shifting meters in “Le Clic.” Can’t say I’ve ever heard anything other than a guitar-based band do that. The adventurousness of the arrangements (not to mention the quality of the musicianship) reminds me of the Tiptons, who have done similar things in an all-sax context. Le Rex’s combination of catchy melodies, bouncy tuba bass lines, and offbeat harmonies is infectious, and virtually every combination possible is explored – solo bits, duos, trios, and so on. Highlights are too numerous to detail, so I’ll just mention a couple. The trombone solo on “Riff Raff” is outstanding, sustaining interest while exploring the instrument’s capabilities. That tune’s rhythm part, reminiscent of soukous, is joyous, and the way they mix in occasional outre notes with the predominantly major-key framework is lovely. The funky tuba part on “Sugar Maple” is smile-inducing, and makes a great backing for a ripping alto solo built over interlocking backing parts from the tenor and trombone. In the end, Le Rex has hit upon a new twist for jazz, and deserve a listen. Seriously fun music.

Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Le Rex

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Andy Timmons Band - Resolution – Andy Timmons is a guitarist along the lines of Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, and Joe Satriani, though to my ear maybe a little more enjoyable because of the variety of styles he covers. His technique is...  (2007) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues