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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Christophe Berthet - Malval (Creative Sources, 2012) ****½

By Stef  

You can't listen to everything. We try to guide the reader to new music that's coming our way. Sometimes it is even tough for the guides to keep track of what's happening. While browsing again through the hundreds of albums that have not been reviewed, and deciding to ditch from our list all the albums that were not released this calendar year, just to make things more manageable, I came across this little gem from Swiss saxophonist Christophe Berthet.

After studies of piano and flute, he switched to the saxophone in 1986, and still plays in several bands of different jazz styles, and what he presents here, can only make us applaud his choice of instrument.

I only know him from his album "Silo", on Leo, with guitarist Vinz Vonlanthen, but what he does here on his own, playing solo in the Malval Chapel near Geneva, is of an immense beauty. Sure, John Butcher comes to mind, in terms approach, the choice of the setting and the careful exploration of sound dynamics, space and multiphonics. Yet the performance is of a solemn authenticity, as if the artist was describing the pain of experiencing aesthetic beauty, evocating the subtle shades of spiritual purity, deep emotional affection and sonic joy. That kind of thing.

There is not much else to say, I can only recommend that you listen to it on Bandcamp, and then try to get your copy if it's still available at all.

Pure beauty.