Temporary Fault review by Massimo Ricci

cf-126Peter Van Huffel / Sophie Tassignon – Hufflignon (CF 126)
Hufflignon is the result produced by a group led by Canadian saxophonist Peter Van Huffel and Belgian vocalist Sophie Tassignon flanked by trombonist Samuel Blaser and bassist Michael Bates. Van Huffel, in this instance on alto and soprano, is the owner of a sophisticated technique and a suavely faultless tone that Tassignon is all too eager to stimulate in scores including problematic dissonant lines that the couple approaches either in unison or in intertwining keenness. She doesn’t possess what one might define an immediately identifiable timbre, but is technically unyielding and, what’s best, tending to set the vocal parts at the service of the compositions instead of doing what the large part of jazz singers do, namely looking for sunny spots where worn out bebop trickery rapidly drowns the listener in thick tediousness. Blaser’s stout phrasing, in addition to his purposeful soloism, shifts the axis of the pieces towards more eccentric environments at times, while Bates’ bass is genuinely reactive to the changes in the general perspective, certifying the functionality of the quartet under any condition (never overly extreme, though). Except for a rendition of Antonio Vivaldi’s “Cum Dederit” which smells a bit of filling material (let me admit it – he’s not a composer I particularly love), the record reveals interesting manners for voice and reeds to work side by side in such a kind of framework. In spite of a not excessive degree of audacity in devising truly pioneering strategies, it constitutes a pretty convincing option against the abundance of rather irrelevant voice-based jazz recordings.

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