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Erik Truffaz - Bending New Corners CD (album) cover

BENDING NEW CORNERS

Erik Truffaz

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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4 stars Mood music with some surprising experimentations

Bending New Corners is a minimalistic jazz album with slight fusion, funk and smooth jazz influences. This is the second release from the same French quartet after their popular album The Dawn, which was recorded a year before and made Tuffaz a renowned trumpeter in jazz circles.

There is very little if any classically progressive element present on the record. Their play style can be described as mainly a blend of genres mentioned eralier with notable Miles Davis influences when it comes to trumpet solos. Lack of guitars is compensated with Patric Muller´s Fender Rhodes, an electro-mechanical piano that is used to produce bizarre soundbites here and there, but mainly to play soft chords with tremolo and phaser effects on them.

All four instruments in the quartet - trumpet, percussion, bass and piano - are independent in their movements, therefore rather playing delicately next to each other than creating solid and straightforward harmonies. Tuffaz´s decision to add rapper Nya on vocals, who sounds very similar to Maxi Jazz from British group Faithless, makes the outcome even more peculiar.

Sweet Mercy. Opening track relies mainly on masterful use of accoustic bass with its rattling strings and long bends. Nya´s african-influenced vocals add a new rhythm perspective, almost a dialogue with bass-led backing track. Trumpet remains pretty reserved and commonplace.

Arroyo. One of the most creative and versatile tracks on the album. Changes in melody and intensity are enjoyable, Patric Muller´s genuinely electric guitar-like wah-wah effects on his Fender Rhodes keyboard are fantastic. Truffaz finally overcomes stage fright and doesn´t limit himself any more. My second personal favourite.

More. Experimental intro reminds me some of King Crimson´s latest works. It soon transforms into a ethereal jazz composition with some allusive nu.jazz and dnb roots. First really unpredictable song on the album. My personal favourite.

Less. More King Crimson effects to come - everything from dark and mechanical to light and joyful. Fender Rhodes effects really play out. Truffaz´ soloing grows more Miles Davis-like and there is some experimentations with time signatures. Song lacks direction and progress though.

Sigfried. In this smooth jazz-based song Fender Rhodes is replaced by the piano. Once again Nya´s lyrics dominate and there is no room for instrumentals to thrive. Truffaz´ trumpet remains mild and, sadly, not adventurous. The outcome is nothing more than classic 60´s jazz remake with one good piano solo.

Bending New Corners. I like trumpet action in the beginning of this one because it explores the borders of the instrument. Percussions, bass and keyboards remain largely repetitive throughout the first half of the song, except for the verse. Exceptional 2-minute keyboard solo with MOOG synthesizer sounds by Patric Muller really draws in the drums and bass creating very powerful ending.

Betty. Slow jazz composition in the tradition of classical jazz lounge music. Pretty little love song but nothing new.

Minaret. Oriental theme in this trumpet and drum combination is refreshing. The track soon transformes into more nu.jazz driven compostion with minor variations. Although quite monotone, Truffaz manages to keep the tension with his trumpet play.

Friendly Fire. Only song with funk influences in the bassline, reminding me of The Meters only with floating rap vocals and classic jazz piano arrangements on top. Positive and naive sounding piece of jazz music.

And. Final, 10-minute track opens with smooth bass foundation with slumberous trompet hovering slowly above it. Occasional electric piano chords act as bizarre sounds from the nature, somewhat resembling rain forest. Marc Erbetta´s fast but lightweight snare drumming over odd time signatures is exceptional, but ends far too quickly. There is a two and a half minute silence in the middle of the track and the second half of it quickly loses tension built up earlier. Track ends with only solo trumpet taking long notes above mediocre drums. Overall imression - weak. A dissaponting end to otherwise creative album.

The verdict.

Erik Truffaz´ Bending New Corners is a jazz album with only a few hints of jazz fusion. It is mellow and relaxing in its tone and would therefore make a good "mood music", preferrably to play some hours before the dawn, when your tired mind just gets the jazzy message. In other times, I would wonder, it sounds a little monotone. There is a lot of repetition in the instrumentals of this album, which is probably done deliberately to avoid disarrangement in the music. Unfortunately it also makes it sound boring. Best tracks are More, Arroyo, Bending New Corners and Minaret and I´d definitely recommend to check them out.

3,5 stars.

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Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink

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