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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Daunik Lazro - Some Other Zongs (Ayler, 2011) ****½

By Stef

French saxophonist Daunik Lazro is possibly best known outside of France from his collaborations with Joe McPhee and Evan Parker, and even if that is no guarantee for celebrity status, it at least draws the context and the nature of his playing. He is a sonic explorer of sentiments, or an emotional adventurer of sound, epending on your approach as a listener.

This second solo album is quiet and subdued, like quality wine allowing you to take small sips to enjoy his playing to the full. Volume and violence are absent, to the advantage of a calm sensitivity, that is often close to the music of John Butcher, using the resonance of the space he plays in, as the St. Merry church in Paris on most of the tracks.

Some of the pieces are absolutely stunning, like the "Zong At St Merry 2", short of four minutes long, but of a crushing or devastating emotional and aesthetic power, complex, ambiguous, full of internal conflict and drama. Other pieces are less focused, but give more time to develop concepts, in the spur of the moment, without too much apparent planning for a coherent evolution, and in normal circumstances this would be a negative, yet not here. Surprise may follow tenderness that precedes agony and the end result may sound like obstinate yet spiritual abandon ... unfathomable like human nature and therefore utterly captivating.

Rarely have I heard such a calm intensity ... 

... and his sound is absolutely magnificent.

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© stef