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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

François Corneloup - Next (Hope Street, 2008) **½

François Corneloup is a great baritone sax player, yet I'm not too sure what to think of this record which is hesitating between genres and styles, with moments that are really good, and are often in shrill contrast with the more beaten-track approach of the rest, so much so that conflict arises and coherence is lost. Corneloup also plays soprano and he is accompanied by Dominique Pifarély on violin, Dean Magraw on guitar, Chico Huff on bass and JT Bates on drums. The album starts with fusion elements, especially in the dialogues between violin and electric guitar, there are some jam band elements to be found too, improvisations which are more based on having fun over a steady funky rhythm than real musical explorations. Other tracks, such as "Luez Entre Deux Eaux", are a little more adventurous and creative, "Cease Fire" offers various approaches consecutively, "Seule" is slow and emotional in a mellow way, but more often than not it's uneventful. So, it funks at moments, guitar, bass and drums play fusion, so does the violin at times, so are some of the fast and rhythmic themes, but ii falls short somehow. After his great release U.L.M, the more avant-garde Nu, and having heard his performances with Henri Texier, Carlos Barreto and Hélène Labarrière, I would have expected more adventure and more musical vision. I would have loved to see him explore more in avant and free environment.

© stef