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Soundcheck

Bill Shoemaker, The Wire, no 219, 1 mai 2002

The rap on French saxophonist/clarinettist Louis Sclavis is that his polished technique hampers his expressive range. However, based on this collaboration with Québécois saxophonist/flutist Jean Derome, that opinion proves to be sheer folly. Sclavis is much more sombre than Derome, who can be particularly zany when paired with drummer Pierre Tanguay. It is fitting that Tanguay and Sclavis’s bassist, Bruno Chevillon, extends the contrast between the coleaders in rounding out the quartet for this 2001 FIMAV performance. Throughout the sets expanses of improvised space, Sclavis is as visceral as Derome. The emphasis on extended improvisation gives the quartet few opportunities to demonstrate their finesse with shorter jazz-flavoured vehicles. Whether it is the bustling Tu dis tout de travers, which suggests a gritty Ornette-Dolphy front line, or the floating Jonas, featuring ethereal bass flute and bass clarinet, a more tightly scripted format draws upon their concision as much as their creativity.

… improvisation gives the quartet few opportunities to demonstrate their finesse with shorter jazz-flavoured vehicles.

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