Tag Archives: Louis Sclavis

Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

LOUIS SCLAVIS / CRAIG TABORN / TOM RAINEY – Eldorado Trio (CF 193)
This French-American combination of reeds, piano and drums reveals its values through a type of music whose immediate outlook appears cleverly questioning and emancipated from styles at once, making the most of swiftly executed instant designs that never give the idea of miscalculated moves or sixth-sense deficiency. Yet in Eldorado Trio, a mix of studio and live performances, there are also episodes – such as “La Visite” – that literally touch the heart in their mournful rigour. The articulated clarity with which the musicians express inner urges and creative tendencies is testimony to an exceptional ability in controlling and pacing the improvised and/or scored counterpoints upon which the CD is masterfully edified. The thematic delineations are informed by admirable gravity, focus and lack of ideological and instrumental dispersion. Moody suggestions and cutting insinuations may alternate over the program, according to a consecutiveness of intelligible complication and un-mellifluous pensiveness; there’s no trace of pessimism whatsoever, but it’s not an all-smiles album either. The interplay is major league throughout: Taborn’s pianism incredibly tight even in the “troublesome” tracks, Sclavis – who conceived the large part of the material – offering lyrically hurting or obliquely peppering lines depending on what crosses his mind, Rainey working the drumset with realistic far-sightedness and heartening absence of easy tricks, thus adding further stability and class to this challenging set.
http://touchingextremes.wordpress.com/2011/12/

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Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

LOUIS SCLAVIS / CRAIG TABORN / TOM RAINEY – Eldorado Trio (CF 193)
This French-American combination of reeds, piano and drums reveals its values through a type of music whose immediate outlook appears cleverly questioning and emancipated from styles at once, making the most of swiftly executed instant designs that never give the idea of miscalculated moves or sixth-sense deficiency. Yet in Eldorado Trio, a mix of studio and live performances, there are also episodes – such as “La Visite” – that literally touch the heart in their mournful rigour. The articulated clarity with which the musicians express inner urges and creative tendencies is testimony to an exceptional ability in controlling and pacing the improvised and/or scored counterpoints upon which the CD is masterfully edified. The thematic delineations are informed by admirable gravity, focus and lack of ideological and instrumental dispersion. Moody suggestions and cutting insinuations may alternate over the program, according to a consecutiveness of intelligible complication and un-mellifluous pensiveness; there’s no trace of pessimism whatsoever, but it’s not an all-smiles album either. The interplay is major league throughout: Taborn’s pianism incredibly tight even in the “troublesome” tracks, Sclavis – who conceived the large part of the material – offering lyrically hurting or obliquely peppering lines depending on what crosses his mind, Rainey working the drumset with realistic far-sightedness and heartening absence of easy tricks, thus adding further stability and class to this challenging set.
http://touchingextremes.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/louis-sclavis-craig-taborn-tom-rainey-eldorado-trio/

JazzWord review by Ken Waxman

Sclavis/Taborn/Rainey – Eldorado Trio (CF 193)
New Old Luten Trio – White Power Blues (EUPH 025)
Taking as a starting point the trio instrumentation used superbly by piano experimenters such as Cecil Taylor and Alexander von Schippenbach, these CDs demonstrate improvisational concepts plus a balance between older and younger players. Skillful improvisations, the results produced are completely divergent, if equally significant.

Both recorded live, each session differs from the get-go. A Leipzig meeting, White Power Blues – an apt if somewhat politically incorrect title – celebrates a meeting between 75-year-old reedist Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky and two improvisers at least 40 years his junior: pianist Elan Pauer and percussionist Christian Lillinger. Petrowsky, along with trombonist Conrad Bauer, pianist Ulrich Gumpert and percussionist Günter Baby Sommer created noteworthy advanced Jazz in the former East Germany. A Sommer- protégé, Berlin-based Lillinger with his own Hyperactive Kid trio and backing players such as saxophonist Henrik Walsdorf, has become a lively, energetic drummer. Meanwhile Pauer ranges over the keyboard while touching on a multiplicity of sonic impulses. In short, the two extended tracks are no-holds-barred Free Jazz.

Twenty years’ Petrowsky’s junior, French soprano saxophonist and bass clarinetist Louis Sclavis was formally trained and over the years has flirted with melodic sounds related to folk music, both real and imaginary. His partners here, both Americans – keyboardist Craig Taborn and drummer Tom Rainey – are long-time associates of innovative players including saxophonist Tim Berne and bassist William Parker. Although the alchemist gold references in the trio’s name may be a fantasy, the musical balance among the three is a certainty. Overall the CD’s eight tracks are mid-length, more formalist and poised than those created with sometimes over-exuberant playing of the New Old Luten Trio.

Superficially the main difference between the German trio’s improvisations is length, with the second almost twice as long as the first. Equally high-powered, agitato and staccato, the shorter “Vitalistic Hymn” is both a prelude to the title track and a mantra for self-determinism. Petrowsky for one doesn’t let the strictures applied by politics, geography or aging shape his playing. Moving among alto saxophone, clarinet, flute and quarter-flute, his flutter-tonguing, a capella twittering, sturdy split tones and whistles migrate with him. Of course there are more pressurized spits and tongue bubbles from the clarinet, reed-biting and circular-breathed squeaks from the sax, and fog-horn-like vibrations and basso-like breaths from the flute. Rattling and clipping the keys, stroking and stopping the piano’s inner strings and occasionally pummeling its woody frame, Pauer demonstrates his skills here. For his part, Lillinger’s strategy encompasses rugged whacks, steady clip-clop and tinting his beats with quivering gongs and clattering cymbals.

Rigid drum top smacks and cymbal skimming with drumsticks keeps the more-than 36½ minute “White Power Blues” percolating. With thematic shifts from the exposition, variants and the finale also reflecting the reedist’s horn-switching, glottal punctuation in the form of side-slipping lines and split tones share space with duck-like quacks and continuous screeches. Unexpected legato patches show up as well.

At one juncture Petrowsky sounds as if he’s improvising on “Perdido”, other times snatches of Bebop heads pop up, then as quickly are swallowed by the swirling and layered Klangfarbenmelodie. Dynamic feints and an assembly line-like collection of percussive tones come from Pauer; who marks tune transitions with aleatory keyboard pumps. Additionally Pauer’s surging glissandi sometimes alternate with the prodding and strumming of the piano’s internal strings. By the final variations, the saxophonist lets loose with a reed-shredding fortissimo cry. The pianist plays what could be termed Zombie boogie-woogie, with multiple note piling, but without walking-bass rhythms; while the drummer smacks and pounds kinetically.

It’s worth noting that in person, with his hair-flying and body moving every which way, Lillinger is an energetic and almost overwhelming player. Such is the cumulative vitality of this trio nonetheless, that at times his playing is almost submerged by the sheer staccato muscle of the three improvising together.

Moving from White Power to Eldorado, Rainey doesn’t overpower Taborn or Sclavis with his equipment either. His motivation is seamless adherence to what the others are creating, and to help the results without drawing attention to himself. From the very beginning Rainey’s rim shots, press rolls and other movements are perfectly timed, and as spectacular in their execution as Lillinger’s are in theirs. But the American’s playing is more in-the-pocket, easily connecting with, but also muting, Taborn’s frequently staccato chording and Sclavis’ timbres which run from squeaks to snorts.

Eldorado Trio also exposes a wider variety of moods than those on the other CD. “To Steve Lacy”, for instance, with Sclavis appropriately playing soprano sax, is a lament built on a moderato line stretched to near breaking-point, until succeeded by reed bites. Taborn’s comping brings in languid urbanity while Rainey’s drags and rolls are suitably unforced. Similarly, “Lucioles” is a chamber-like fantasia with Taborn creating dancing pianissimo lines so consonant, that the outcome is nearly equal temperament. The clarinetist’s continuously breathed tongue flutters are similarly crepuscule, as the drummer equals the stylized playing of his partners with hand pumps and brushes on drum tops. Although contrasting dynamics, splintered cross tones and protracted glissandi show up on the CD, no matter how atonal and contrapuntal the construction appears, the linear nature of the tune is never sacrificed.

To stretch a metaphor perhaps, it’s true that love making can be either hard and fast or slow and sensual, without either being correct. So too is the interaction of a double-bass-less trio. As with intimacy, some may prefer the aggressive style of the German band, others the more mannered style of the Franco-American aggregation. Adventurous types may be inclined to try both.http://www.jazzword.com/review/127465

Improjazz review by Luc Bouquet

Britt Robson’s (TK) Best of 2010 List

1. Myra Melford: The Whole Tree Gone (Firehouse 12)
2. Rudresh Mahanthappa & Bunky Green: Apex (Pi)
3. Charles Lloyd: Mirror (ECM)
4. Louis Sclavis-Craig Taborn-Tom Rainey: Eldorado Trio (Clean Feed)
5. Dave Holland: Pathways (Dare2)
6. Rufus Reid: Out Front (Motema)
7. Ryan Keberle: Heavy Dreaming (Alternate Side)
8. Christian Scott: Yesterday You Said Tomorrow (Concord)
9. Frank Kimbrough: Rumors (Palmetto)
10. SFJazz Collective: Live 2010: The Works of Horace Silver (SFJazz)

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

The Eldorado Trio (Sclavis, Taborn, Rainey) Takes No Prisoners

Louis Sclavis / Craig Taborn / Tom Rainey – Eldorado Trio (CF 193)
It seems like with so many interesting releases coming out of Clean Feed records lately that it might be easy to miss a few. The Eldorado Trio (Clean Feed 193) CD could be one of those, but it really shouldn’t be. The disk features studio and live cuts captured last year in Porto, Portugal. Of the eight pieces featured on the release, five are by Louis Sclavis, who plays a very together soprano sax and bass clarinet throughout; the rest are collective group compositions.

This is some very impressive music of the avant-free improvisation sort. Sclavis holds forth with articulate poise and confidence; Craig Taborn is loose and inventive on the acoustic and electric piano; and Tom Rainey plays inspired drums. It is the band as a total unit, though, that makes for the most impressive impact. All three players are contributing in a direct way to the outcome of the performances. It’s not a solo and accompaniment situation for the most part.

And what an outcome. This one gives you the art of improvisation at its most modern and advanced. It’s not so much an energy honk-out sort of date as much as it is a reshaping of what is modern about modernity. But whew just hear this one and you’ll get what my words only point to. The Eldorado Trio is a kicking ensemble!
http://gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.com/

All About Jazz-New York review by David R. Adler

Louis Sclavis / Craig Taborn / Tom Rainey – Eldorado Trio (CF 193)
Is it possible for a jazz label to release too much good music? If so, Clean Feed has a wonderful problem on its hands. One can barely keep up with the flood of discs by such artists as Kirk Knuffke, Ivo Perelman, Kris Davis, John Hébert, Bernardo Sassetti, Nobuyasu Furuya, Julian Argüelles and Tom Rainey – and that’s just to list some of the recent trio sessions. With Eldorado Trio, we get an intriguing companion to Rainey’s Pool School, his recording debut as a leader from earlier this year. While the latter featured the drummer in a studio encounter with guitarist Mary Halvorson and tenorist Ingrid Laubrock, Eldorado Trio has him in a co-led concert setting with pianist Craig Taborn and multi-reedist Louis Sclavis. The sonorities are dark and expansive, although “Up Down Up” and “Possibilities” introduce crisp, almost swinging tempos and “Let It Drop” opens the set with quick and frenetic staccato interplay. Sclavis limits himself to bass clarinet and soprano saxophone; only on “Lucioles” does he play both, switching to the lower horn for the final snaking legato unison with Taborn. All the pieces are Sclavis originals except for three – “To Steve Lacy”, “Summer Worlds” and the closing “Eldorado” – credited to the full trio.

“La Visite”, the longest, slowest and most brooding piece in the set, stands as a kind of anomaly. Its harmony is unambiguous (A minor moving to E minor); Sclavis and Taborn blend beautifully on the mournful theme and Sclavis soon builds to a torrential, almost Coltrane-esque bass clarinet flight. “Lucioles”,
far more abstract harmonically, finds Sclavis (on soprano) and Taborn urging each other on during the improv while Rainey, in the eye of the storm, remains unperturbed. The trio chemistry is distinctive and the music more melodic than Taborn and Rainey’s work with Tim Berne in Hard Cell. There’s free-jazz fire at
its heart, but also an elusive element of folk lyricism.