What a great idea for the Canadians François Carrier on alto and Michel Lambert on drums to perform with one of Russia's leading pianists when visiting Russia in December of last year. I've described François Carrier's playing before on several album reviews as a very lyrical player, who can make his alto sing and resonate in a way that is reminiscent of Coltrane, in more than one way, including the expansive and spiritual nature of his improvisations. Lapin is an unusual piano player, someone with a very distinct voice himself and quite creative in his musical approach. Lambert is a very musical and subtle drummer, rather than a rhythmic drummer, and in that sense the perfect match.
The first track "Inner Spire" immediately delivers on the expectations : soaring sax-playing, with a piano that hesitates between postboppish sensitivity and avant-garde dissonance, creating an improvisation with great tension and beauty. On the second piece, the approach becomes harsher, with iconoclastic sound patterns, hesitating at moments, pounding with self-assurance at others."Tribe" is an incredible improvisation, and one that is astonishing because of its interplay. The rhythmic foundation is odd, if it can be discerned at all, yet the coherence with which the uncommon sound is created and developed, with Lapin and Carrier echoing each other's phrases with great precision, is extremely strong. It unravels in a way into thin threads, keeping its unusual character, picking up power again for the second part.
"Round Trip" starts with a tentative trialogue of bouncing phrases, again slowly merging into one single movement, with Lapin acting as an incredible creator of a musical context, a stylistic framework that he keeps developing, pushing Carrier into possibly to him less comfortable zones, yet he manages extremely well.
The album ends with the more lyrical "Sacred Flow", led by Carrier in duet with the piano to start with, and when the drum comes in halfway, the tempo picks up a notch, though not for long.
Really excellent album. Carrier has so far just released a few albums with pianists, often restricting himself to duo or trio settings, but this collaboration with Lapin points clearly in the direction of further exploration.
Buy from Instantjazz.