The word “jazz” – or rather the neologism (of uncertain etymology) invented to designate this hybrid music that has always been a half-breed – does not tolerate the addition of a letter indicating a plural. What's more, this art had begun to become universalised, multiply and diversify very early on, so it is not its least paradox that it continues to live and develop by dint of cultivating the voice of each of its creators and simultaneously, their collective élans, refining them and making them more complex. Hence the fine pertinence of the title chosen for this album, which is also that of a piece written by the leadercomposer and for which one take sufficed: “For me, emphasises the bass player, the most striking experience was the three days in residence at Fontenay-sous-Bois (followed by a concert) that preceded the recording.
I was staggered by the way in which everyone contributed without necessarily speaking inordinately. It really seemed to me that I was providing the basic material, and that these “sound architects” were building an edifice that was not only mine but that of the entire group”. In other words, beyond genres and styles and outmoded distinctions and hierarchies (solos/collective, melodic/rhythmic, improvised/ premeditated, leader/sidemen), this was an irresistible, timeless demonstration of jazz. Or else, as if to illustrate this other constraint in the making of a jazz work that is the indivisible tandem of discipline and freedom, one theme was cruelly entitled Le scaphandre et le papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly).
This was a reference to the film inspired by journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby's stroke and subsequent book: “I found that the hypnotic, circular bass line represented a form of shackles to which I had the greatest trouble to adapt: the term “L.I.S.” (locked-in syndrome) came at the beginning of working on this piece. The idea of mentioning Julian Schnabel's film came later“. In fact, as concerned the melodic silhouettes of the compositions as much as the level of playing of the five instrumentalists – particularly the interaction of the two blowers and even the gestures of the percussionist – in principle, an obvious diversity unfolded as the pieces went on.
These offer a whole range of subtle variations on an equilibrium between the volatile and the solid, the fluid and the serious, precision without brutality and an almost caressing struggle. Beyond the need for a richer instrumental palette, these nuances turn out to be subtly perceptible, not only between the tenor and soprano saxophones but, from the outset, between the styles of the two saxophonists on the same instrument: fluence and relative lightness of Matthieu Donarier's tenor delicately contrasted with Tony Malaby's almost “tannin”- like density (Fandango), whereas the latter's sharp, incisive soprano (less often in solo), distinguishes itself in suppleness from Donarier's ethereal, twirling soprano. Thomas Grimmonprez's punctuations and quasi-pointillist discourse, and Bojan Zulfikarpašic's grooving inflections (beginnings of choreographies), virtues delightfully and briefly flattered, participate in this mosaic of oxymorons (soft paroxysms and serene interrogations) long enough for three Snapshots, in which the bass player imposes and generously raises up his mastery and dense sonority according to an empathy gaily felt during previous recordings. Spotted then confirmed beginning with his first phonograms, Kerecki's science or art for inventing and/or stirring up a collective movement, mixed with song and dance, the ductility of which seems alien to any spirit of crisis, blossoms here with seeming simplicity and a plasticity that one might be tempted to compare with some naturism or even an ecological evidence. Or like a corollary to the adage according to which 'curves are beauty'.
Tony Malaby - tenor & soprano sax (left channel)
Matthieu Donarier - tenor & soprano sax (right channel)
Bojan Z - piano, Fender Rhodes
Stepahne Kerecki - double-bass
Thomas Grimmonprez - drums
1. SNAPSHOT 1* - 1:34
2. SERBIAN FOLK SONG ** - 6:39
3. LE SCAPHANDRE ET LE PAPILLON - 4:58
4. SOUND ARCHITECTS - 6:50
5. SNAPSHOT 2* - 1:27
6. LUNATIC - 5:47
7. SONG FOR ANNA - 6:33
8. KUNG FU - 4:42
9. SNAPSHOT 3* - 1:19
10. LA SOURCE - 7:32
11. BASS PRAYER - 4:27
12. FANDANGO - 3:09
ALL TITLES COMPOSED BY STÉPHANE KERECKI, PUBLISHED BY TAG ZONE MUSICEXCEPT * COMPOSED BY STÉPHANE KERECKI, BOJAN Z & THOMAS GRIMMONPREZ**FROM THE SERBIAN TRADITIONAL “DUNJE I JABUKE” / INTRO ARRANGEMENT BY MIKI STANOJEVIC