By Paul Acquaro
Switzerland's Grand Reportage Ensemble Deluxe's album "Live from the Surface of the Sun" takes off with two quick blasts from the woodwind team of saxophonist Jérôme Correa and guest bass clarinetist Lucien Dubuis. This double shot of low register adrenaline certainly gets things started. Weaving into free passages and finally succumbing to entropy, the song certainly does not end as it began. But no worries, soon the next tune picks up with an tempo set of contemporaneous melodies -- with notes bouncing against each other like charged molecules.
This is an eclectic collection that defies easy labeling, elements of jazz, rock, folk themes and free playing intertwine. The song "Ode au grain" has moments that are remiscent of the slow grooves of 90's rock band Morphine, "Bogota boogie" borders on modern jazz and "S'asseoir dessus" gets pretty funky. For the most part, the songs are a collective effort, where intricately composed melodies, colored by the instruments' tonalities and techniques -- sonic splats, squawks and key clicks -- all figure prominently in the mix.
Keeping the pulse and giving the woodwinds enough sharp angles to be dangerous around, the rhythm section of Olivier Nussbaum on bass and Vincent Boillat keep the melodic mischief makers somewhat grounded, but more so, keep the tunes moving along.
Dubuis' music has been praised before on this blog (see Ultime Cosmos and Tovorak), his music is able to both embrace and rise above a certain wild abandon. Plus, can one ever get enough of the contrabass clarinet? His work here with kindred spirit Correa and the apparently like minded Grand Reportage Ensemble has culminated in something very exciting and enjoyable.
Available via Bandcamp
"S'asseoir dessus" from a show in Switzerland: