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Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no 713, 11 janvier 2010

The continuity of interesting releases by Ambiances Magnétiques is also the case for the sublabel Malasartes Musiques, that was started by Damian Nisenson several years ago. This time Nisenson presents his new group Nozen, a quartet by Pierre Tanguay (drums), Jean Félix Mailloux (bass), Bernard Falaise (guitars) and Nisenson himself on (alt and tenor sax). They interpret 12 compositions by Argentina-born Nisenson that move between jazz, new music and musical traditions of Jewish Eastern Europe. After the revival of klezmer in the 90s, it was also embraced by jazz musicians. Just think of John Zorn’s Masada or Burton Greene’s Klezmokum. Nozen is also exponent of this development as Nisenson also strives above all for a combination of jazz and klezmer. He does so very successfully. Their playing is modest and inspired. The music often starts very calm but gradually effervescent passages takes over and climaxes are reached. Very satisfying are the few tracks where guitarist Falaise impresses with fine solo work and dissonant, like in the opening track and in the fantastic Spread the News. They counterbalance perfectly with the pieces that pass by relatively unnoticed because they are built around klezmer-like themes that sound to common and therefore insignificant. Like the closing track No Milk No Sugar. However after the short silence a new piece begins that is added as a ghost track. This is by far the most experimental track and was probably produced in the studio.

Jean Félix Mailloux is ready for his second record by his group Cordâme (Marie Neige Lavigne - violin, Julie-Odile - violoncello, Rémi Giguere - guitars, Ziya Tabassian - percussion, vibraphone, Pierre Tanguay -drums). Migration draws inspiration from Persian, Indian and Armenian music, and modal and improvised music. In this respect it is a similar project as Nozen, as both integrate eastern musical traditions in a western context. In contrast with Nozen Mailloux moves further east, not only geographically but also in the music he composes. Jazz-influences, as well as other western idioms are less obvious then in the case of Nozen. Mailloux is not interested in opposing or confronting these influences with western traditions. He brings an ode to eastern musical traditions, leaving behind all the ornaments that characterize this music often in its original form. Of course one can hear immediately that the music is played by western players, who - that is also very evident - are very dedicated to this music. It is evident that Mailloux is very fond of eastern music. However the compositions are not always satisfying or engaging from beginning to end. A bit too spun out from time to time. The music often moves along in the same slow - walk like a egyptian - pace. If you can surrender yourself to this it is a very pleasant slow journey. Very organic and pleasing chamber music. Constantly in the same relaxing mood but played very spirited.

With Interview something else is going on. This is the fist solo effort by the young trumpeter Amy Horvey. She works mainly as a contemporary, orchestral and Baroque trumpeter and appeared as a soloist with numerous ensembles and orchestras. On her first solo-album she interprets works from very different composers. The CD opens with Quattro pezzi per tromba sola, a beautiful composition by Giacinto Scelsi. It is followed by pieces from unknown contemporary composers: Musica Invisible (Cecilia Arditto), Interview (Anna Hostman). In Apparatus Inconcinnus (Ryan Purchase) a story of the Russian writer Daniil Charms is read by Horvey, interrupted by instrumental parts. Overture to The Queen of the Music Boxes features Jeff Morton on music boxes, toy instruments and electronics. It sounds like an improvisation, but I can be wrong. To conclude I can say that Horvey made the right decision in including a wide variety of compositions, showing that she feels at home as a trumpeter in very different musical worlds.

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