Monday, December 25, 2017

Erik Truffaz - Out Of A Dream

1996 : we now play in 4te, Patrick Muller has joined the band. He brings with him an undeniable colour, that of liberty. We record Out of dream in the autumn. Habib Achour proposes it to the producer of EMI, Michel Mouster. Blue Note USA decides to increase production by giving majors of each country the possibility of signing new artists. We will be the first French band to release on that mythical label in February 1997. - From Erik's website

Truffaz has experimented with electronica-tinged dance music and ensemble improvisation, but on his 1997 major label debut Out Of A Dream, he channels the spirit and sound of Miles Davis. The way Truffaz delicately and economically phrases smatterings of thin warm notes begs comparison with Miles. But Truffaz doesn’t just play parrot here, he takes that classic sound and wraps it around a bunch of elegant tunes that you’d swear were laid down decades ago. With a title like Out Of A Dream, one would expect this album to be a languid affair, and it doesn’t disappoint. Truffaz and his quintet spin one mid-tempo ballad into another, each track a strand of golden sunshine piercing through gray rainclouds. ‘Down Town’ opens with Truffaz blowing simple figures on his trumpet before the rest of the group jump in and kick the track into gear. The way Truffaz darts around his band’s interlocking groove cannot fail to bring to mind the first famous quintet of Miles Davis. But it’s the title track - a deceptively complex ballad that sounds every bit like a lazy Saturday morning in bed - that sets the pace for the entire album. Truffaz has made a game effort to deflect the depth of Miles’ influence upon his sound. Obviously, the bulls eye that comes with such a comparison is daunting enough, but any artist worth their salt strives to be original and not just some two-cent carbon copy of the real deal. So Truffaz says things like “My band sounds like itself” while the biography on his website admits that hearing Kind Of Blue as a 16 year old changed his life and sent him into a career in music. But Truffaz needn’t worry about dodging such lofty comparisons. Out Of A Dream sounds unavoidably like Miles, but it retains enough of his magic and genius - things that can’t merely be
copied rote - that it comes off like a long lost album from the great trumpeter’s archive. And that’s meant as a compliment - one of the biggest I can think of, actually. -

Artist: Erik Truffaz
Album: Out Of A Dream
Year: 1997
Label: Blue Note Records
Runtime: 49:46
Recorded at Studio Village (Montpellier, France), February, 1996

1.  Down Town 2:01
2.  Out of a Dream 7:36
3.  Beaute Bleue 5:59
4.  Wet in Paris 6:24
5.  Porta Camollia 5:21
6.  Indigo 5:49
7.  Saisir 3:55
8.  Elegie 3:23
9.  Samara 5:24
10.  Up Town 2:11
11.  Betty 1:42
All compositions by Erik Truffaz 

Erik Truffaz (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Cyrille Bugnon (Tenor and Alto Saxophone)
Patrick Muller (Piano)
Marcello Giuliani (Double Bass)
Marc Erbetta (Drums)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hugh Masakela - The Lasting Impressions Of Ooga Booga

In patching together a program of Hugh Masekela's MGM recordings onto a single overstuffed CD, Verve took the original The Americanization of Ooga Booga album, leapfrogged over its successor, Next Album, and coupled it with the third MGM LP, The Lasting Impressions of Hugh Masekela. That made good sense since the two albums originate from the same live date at the Village Gate, recorded when the trumpeter was still in the process of making an impression in the U.S. Masekela is full of wild, sputtering, high-rolling exuberance, developing some of his familiar signature trumpet riffs, freely exploring South African rhythms, harmonic sequences, and chants, and mixing them with soul-jazz at a time when hardly anyone else would bother (the mixture of township jive and jazz works especially well on "U-Dwi"). He also ties into Brazil with a fine rendition of Jorge Ben's "Mas Que Nada" and assimilates Coltrane into his bloodstream with a tribute called "Mixolydia." In general, the Americanization tracks are the picks of the crop (Impressions, after all, had been compiled in 1968 to cash in on Masekela's surprise number one single, "Grazing in the Grass"). With the rhythm section of Larry Willis on piano, Harold Dotson on bass, and Henry Jenkins on drums, this music still holds up marvelously today. - by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

Artist: Hugh Masakela
Album: The Lasting Impressions of Ooga Booga
Year: 1965 (MGM Records)
Label: Verve Records (1996)
Runtime: 78:43
Recorded live at the Village Gate, NYC, in 1965

1.  Bajabula Bonke (Miriam Makeba) 8:05
2.  Dzinorabiro (Miriam Makeba) 6:38
3.  Unhlanhia (Miriam Makeba) 5:22
4.  Cantelope Island (Herbie Hancock) 5:29
5.  U-dwi (Hugh Masekela) 5:25
6.  Masquenada (Jorge Ben) 7:43
7.  Abangoma (Miriam Makeba) 4:04
8.  Mixloydia (Hugh Masekela) 7:00
9.  Con Mucho Caarino (Larry Willis) 4:41
10.  Where Are You Going? (Hugh Masekela) 7:42
11.  Morolo (Hugh Masekela) 5:06
12.  Bo Masekela (Caiphus Semenya) 4:39
13.  Unohilo (Alan Salinga) 6:49

Hugh Masekela (Trumpet and Vocals)
Larry Willis (Piano)
Harold Dotson (Double Bass)
Henry Jenkins (Drums)


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