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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Denis Beuret - Alone (Leo Records, 2008) ***½

Solo trombone records are rare things, but a solo bass trombone record must be unique. And the music is too. Swiss trombonist Denis Beuret not only masters the full five octave range of the instrument, he uses double sounds and sordines, he uses all sorts of different embouchures - for clarinet, sax, tuba, flute, and last but not least, he uses a wide array of live electronics to make loops of the sounds he creates. When listening to the record for the first time, I thought it had been dubbed, and over-dubbed, in several layers, with some sounds created to add percussive background, with repetitive themes to create a lyrical backbone, and then several improvisations over this. Surprisingly, these are all live improvisations. Invented on the spot, yet sounding as if careful preparation went into it beforehand and long polishing in the studio afterwards. That's the astonishing fact. This feat, and the quite coherent musical vision that Beuret creates with his perfect one-man marriage of human virtuosity and electronic effects, is really admirable. This isn't entirely jazz, this is more related to new music. Some pieces are quite hypnotic in their repetitive melodic drone, such as "Nouvloop03". On others, like "Nouvloop02", some of the sounds are gut-wrenching, leading to a quite wonderful listening experience. Other tracks are fun, like "MaxLoop03", yet not all tracks are of that same high level, or at least not all of them have the same direct appeal to me. A must for trombonists, a more than interesting albums for the rest of us.

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© stef