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Friday, January 4, 2008

Marc Boutillot Trio - ... Et Alors? (Petit Label, 2007) ****

It is the frustration of many modern jazz musicians that excellence does not necessarily pay. Take these albums for instance, from the appropriately named French "Petit Label" ("small label"), which releases CDs that are only pressed in copies numbered from 1 to 100. I advise you to have a look on their website and also listen to other albums than the ones reviewed. The art work and the refinement of their website is illustrative of the quality of the music, which ranges from modern mainstream over more free jazz to pure improv and noise.

Marc Boutillot Trio - Et Alors? ****

This clarinet trio brings some excellent music, relatively free, with high intensity and great interaction, with Marc Boutillot on clarinet and bass clarinet, Sébastien Beliah on bass, and Frédéric Delestré on drums. The music varies the whole time, is now joyful, then sad, then dancing, with lots of rhythmic changes. A pleasure to hear. A great mix of free form and structure.

Listen and order from Petit Label.

Scraps - L'Enigme Du Sphynx (Petitlabel, 2006) ****

Scraps is a "bigger" band, with a three horn front : Samuel Belhomme on trumpet, Rémy Garçon and Jean-Baptiste Perez on sax, Emmanuel Piquery on keyboards, Antoine Simoni on bass and Emmanuel Peunfeunteun on drums. Together they bring a really nice form of modern jazz, complex polyrhythms, wonderful counterpoint action for the horns, great harmonic development, with long sweeping movements alternated with free intensity and rawness, yet always contained and falling within the overall structure. No ferocity here, but joyful, playful and refreshing music.

Listen and order from Petit Label

I hope these guys get some wider recognition.