Tag Archives: marc ducret

JazzWord review by Ken Waxman

CF 259Angelica Sanchez Quintet – Wires and Moss (CF 259)
Nick Fraser – Towns and Villages (Barnyard Records)
Arriving in New York from his native Tucson in 1995, Tony Malaby has since made his distinctive tenor and soprano saxophone tones part of that city’s scene, both with his own bands and as a sideman – most notably with bassist Mark Helias’ trio. His high- quality improvisations are featured on both these CDs, although he does have much closer ties to one leader than the other.

That’s because pianist Angelica Sanchez, who also composed Wires and Moss’s half-dozen tracks, is Malaby’s spouse, as well as being a respected jazzer in her own right. Another session reflecting her unique vision, the disc unites the two with a top rhythm section of bassist Drew Gress and drummer Tom Rainey plus French guitarist Marc Ducret. A responsive time-keeper who composed all the titles on his CD, Toronto-based drummer Nick Fraser calls on Malaby’s skills more platonically on Canadian Towns and Villages. The distinctiveness of this CD comes from the juxtaposition of his and the saxman’s instruments with those played by two other Toronto-based musicians. The distinctive timbres of Andrew Downing’s cello and Rob Clutton’s bass are both cleverly worked into the arrangements.

A member of the collective quintet Drumheller and the band Ugly Beauties with pianist Marilyn Lerner and cellist Matt Brubeck, the Ottawa-born drummer is so self-effacing that often it’s only clip-clops, bumps or patterns which characterize his accompaniment. Meanwhile a track such as “Albs” is built around a mellow interface that contrasts Malaby’s sweet-and-sour tenor vibrato with Downing’s rich bowed lines and timed thumps from Clutton. Even when the two string players advance contrapuntal whistles and creaks, as on the fully improvised “Sketch #10”, an innate lyricism is still present, with Fraser’s understated ratamacues softening Malaby’s thick sax slurs

In contrast the track that moves this quartet closest to Albert Ayler territory – he used similar instrumentation, but with trumpet as well – is the enigmatically titled “?”. Here Malaby’s pinched blowing and peeping is matched by the bassist’s string sawing and the cellist’s staccato creaks and crackles. While the drummer’s output is more dominant, it seems that his basic taste prevents the tune from blasting into the stratosphere.

Overall however the CD’s most distinctive number is “Sketch #12”, which sums up the fine musical line the quartet walks. The performance is neither completely straight-edged nor fully free form despite Malaby’s narrowed tremolo vibrato, disassociated slurs and reed bites. No matter, the backing stays resolutely linear. A thick walking bass line plus pops and clatters from the drummer sees to this. While there’s curiosity engendered with this clashing of sonic strategies, more excitement could have resulted if the four resolved the situation one way or the other.

Fewer tunes and more front line players distinguish the other session. Although the combo has been together for a half-dozen years, unlike the Fraser-Malaby one-off, a basic tension still exists. Malaby’s chesty moans and concentrated slurs plus Ducret’s ringing tone distortions pull the band in one direction, while Sanchez’s sympathetically and contrapuntally decorated expositions aim for an opposing game plan. With Dress and Rainey forcefully backing up the three, a disconnect between subtle and sinewy is often highlighted. Overall it’s mostly the guitarist who is the spark plug and whose playing is most disruptive to the measured narratives.

Since after all Sanchez composed all the tunes and is session leader, this effect is probably simpatico with her aims, even if it appears to conflict with her sympathetic chording and restrained keyboard dusting. Yet when Ducret’s buzzing, sliding licks on “Dare” give the impression that he`s daring the saxophonist to dispense with his previously lighter-than-air soprano lines and turn to pressurized lip vibrations is this part of Sanchez’s plans? Certainly while she has occasion to showcase a staccato interface with runs from both hands emerging for additional coloration, her main concern is melody building, with the atonal improvising left to others.

Only on the extended “Soaring Piasa” for example, when broken-octave counterpoint is advanced by Malaby’s human-sounding altissimo squeals and muscular Rainey drum ruffs, does the pianist seem intent on taking control of the rhythm section, harmonizing and integrating every other instrumental texture. Again does this pinpoint Sanchez’s collaborative skill or her instrumental shyness?

As it is the unanswered question suggests something is lacking on both sessions. Although each can be listening to with interest, the conciseness of Fraser’s performances plus the resolute linearity of Sanchez’s concepts work against a full loosening of structures and the creation of fully exhilarating dates. Perhaps next time…

JazzWrap review by Stephan Moore

CF 259Angelica Sanchez – Wires & Moss (CF 259)
Everyone knows I tend to rave about Fred Hersch and Jason Moran as my favourite modern pianists. But there are others that are emerging with the same talent and vision as these two future legends. Kris Davis is definitely one of those that I put in the list. Recently I have also been listening another bright and inventive composer, Angelica Sanchez.

Sanchez, now with her forth album (third for Clean Feed), hopefully will find a wider audience. With Wires & Moss, she explores an ever growing lyrical and conceptual structure that is both calm and free flowing. “Loomed” is an expansive piece with various layers of expression, tightly pulled together by Ducret, Malaby and Rainey. Sanchez and Gress play the static calm palate to the trio’s frenetic brushes. But it’s always the leader who carries the tune’s soft undulating notes towards the close.

“Wires & Moss” is a stunning display of rolling melodies. Sanchez’s performance is filled with multiple chord changes and jagged directional cues for the rest of the quintet. Early on, Ducret shines with crafty Arto Lindsay meets Thurston Moore type qualities. The piece moves up, down and outward. The rest of the group approach midway through and it becomes more poetic with each movement. Gress and Sanchez take the band quietly out with some beautiful passages.

Motionless might be the feeling you get from the closing number, “Bushido.” This starts off gently but then moves roughly in staccato motion while consistently holding the listener in place. The entire quintet is scorching on this number and exemplifies Sanchez’s creative vision that she has worked on since setting out as a leader over a decade ago.

Angelica Sanchez writes with a very cerebral approach that puts her in a category of the previous mentioned artist from my point of view. If you haven’t experienced her music before–now is the time. Wires & Moss is absolutely brilliant and highly, highly recommended!

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

CF 259Angelica Sanchez Quintet – Wires & Moss (CF 259)
Angelica Sanchez is officially here to stay. She’s played and recorded with Wadada Leo Smith and others, she put out a very nice solo piano album a while back (type her name in the index box to read my review) and she now returns with a quintet on Wires & Moss (Clean Feed 259).   There’s a warmth to her freedom, compositionally and as a pianist, and it shows nicely on this disk. She’s gathered excellent all-star caliber players in Marc Ducret, guitar, Tony Malaby, tenor and soprano, Drew Gress on contrabass, and Tom Rainey, drums. And she’s put six of her compositions together for the occasion.   This is a band that can solo! And they do overtop the very hip-ly loose straight-eight free doings of the rhythm team.   The result is an extension of what she did/does with Wadada, free jazz-rock going considerably further in sophistication and complex running counterpoint than some of the heavier handed variety out there. Then Angelica will surprise you with some very advanced piano, lyrical and very creative, surprise you because it all fits together in her head but most leaders don’t mix it up quite like this. New music meets meta-groove? Well, yes.   It goes a long way forward, miles ahead ahead. And it’s very original too! Listen to this one a bunch of times and you will get there, in new territory.

Time Out Lisboa review by Jose Carlos Fernandes

CF 259Angelica Sanchez – Wires & Moss (CF 259)
Se Life Between, o disco anterior do quinteto da pianista Angelica Sanchez, representava uma evolução em relação a Mirror Me, Wires & Moss vai mais longe, superando as oposições entre liberdade e estrutura, jazz e música de câmara, impulso rítmico e fragmentação, tranquilidade e desassossego. Veja-se o caso de “Bushido”, com o piano contemplativo e hierático a articular-se com a vigorosa agitação da guitarra, contrabaixo e bateria.

Embora as intrigantes composições sejam todas de Sanchez, o protagonismo é repartido com Tony Malaby (sax), Marc Ducret (guitarra), Drew Gress (contrabaixo) e Tom Rainey (bateria). Num CD que vale pelo primoroso trabalho de conjunto, vale a pena, ainda assim, destacar os electrizantes solos de Malaby e Ducret em “Loomed”.

Point of Departure review by Troy Collins

CF 259Angelica Sanchez Quintet – Wires & Moss (CF 259)
Despite her enviable skills, pianist Angelica Sanchez has maintained a relatively low profile since relocating from Arizona to New York in the mid-1990s with saxophonist Tony Malaby. In addition to numerous collaborations with Malaby, Sanchez’s sideman credits include work with peers like Matt Bauder, Harris Eisenstadt and Rob Mazurek – though her output as a leader has been somewhat limited. Other than Mirror Me, her 2003 Omnitone debut, the only other title in Sanchez’s discography as a bandleader is Life Between (Clean Feed, 2008) – the phenomenal premier of her Quintet with Malaby, renowned French guitarist Marc Ducret and the stellar rhythm section of bassist Drew Gress and drummer Tom Rainey.

Wires & Moss, the band’s sophomore effort, expands upon its predecessor’s deft equipoise, gracefully shifting between open forms and taut written sections. Sanchez’s elegant melodies provide boundless inspiration for her bandmates, facilitating a wide range of individualized expression – especially from Ducret. The guitarist’s dynamic versatility manifests in myriad ways, from the glassy fretwork that underpins the dolorous ballad “Feathered Light,” to the metallic shards and searing maelstroms that dominate the remainder of the album. His introductory soliloquy to the title track unveils the breadth of his wide-ranging approach; he uses fretboard hammering, whammy bar pitch bends and sustained feedback to extrapolate the tune’s sinuous melody into a multitude of abstract variations.

Selectively underpinning Ducret’s salvos, Sanchez demonstrates her mettle as a discerning accompanist whose keen understanding of dynamics provides the group with spacious vistas to explore. Her harmonically unfettered melodic sensibility and pellucid touch imbues the session with robust lyricism, whether plying delicate filigrees on the unassuming “Feathered Light,” issuing cascading neo-classical figures on the expansive title track, or closing the knotty opener, “Loomed,” with a stately cadenza.

Building on years of familiarity with her oeuvre, Malaby’s contributions to Sanchez’s work are deeply affecting. His tender soprano regales with understated sensitivity on the title cut, while his pneumatic tenor fusillades amplify the dramatic contours of “Bushido.” His commitment to Sanchez’s artistry is most telling on “Soaring Piasa.” He invests the rousing melody with soulful ruminations that gradually ascend with irrepressible urgency, inspiring the band to greater heights of controlled fervor.

Veterans Gress and Rainey gracefully navigate stop-start rhythms, unconventional meters and impressionistic accents, their practiced rapport providing magnanimous support. Buoyed by her illustrious sidemen’s stirring interpretations, the vivid panoramas revealed on Wires & Moss are among the most satisfying of Sanchez’s burgeoning career.

All About Jazz Italy review by Stefano Merighi

CF 259Angelica Sanchez Quintet – Wires & Moss (CF 259)
Valutazione: 3.5 stelle
L’aura di Tim Berne aleggia lieve sopra questa ottima band. Quattro su cinque componenti del Quintet provengono infatti da molte avventure con Tim, episodi di formazione fondamentali per la loro maturazione. Brava Angelica dunque, a sceglierli e a guidarli con discrezione ma risoluta fermezza. Sanchez è in un periodo di notevole intensità creativa: il solo piano, il lavoro nel Golden Quartet di Smith e questo quintetto. Che, a un primo ascolto, è piuttosto spiazzante: composizioni meditative, che non forzano mai ritmi e archi narrativi e invitano alla concentrazione tranquilla. Insomma, abbiamo qui cinque campioni dei rispettivi strumenti, ma non ascoltiamo esibizioni muscolari né concitazioni free.

Piuttosto articolate indagini sul suono, sui rapporti timbrici speculari, saldati da una scrittura sensibile, che si evolve da un frammento, da un interludio. Ogni traccia non inizia infatti con temi assertivi o riff; muove invece da grumi sfilacciati o note tenute, che si trasformano piano in narrazioni ponderate, preziose. “Loomed” propone intrecci tra tenore e chitarra, fino all’intervento asprigno, vetroso di un Ducret sempre più lucido; la tensione sale quando Malaby impone un eloquio potente sopra un’ancora ritmica ostinata. Poi, rarefazione e pianoforte in solitudine, tenue.

E’ musica esemplare per riflettere sulla frattura che molti autori hanno operato rispetto alle filiazioni jazzistiche riconoscibili. La Sanchez, come molti altri, è cresciuta potendo ascoltare enormi discografie, dunque influenzata da fonti anche disparate e antitetiche. Logico dunque che lo spettro espressivo sia frantumato, che non vuol dire confuso.

Come pianista, Sanchez punta su un fraseggio fluido, vagamente hancockiano, lontano però da vezzi e iterazioni: ciò che le interessa è la sostanza e il respiro d’insieme. Come in “Soaring Piasa,” grande brano che da un duo astratto Malaby-Ducret entra in un territorio da ballad e si apre a interventi del tenore e del piano in simultanea, con variazioni tematiche e intensità ritmiche. Il tandem Gress-Rainey fa faville anche su tonalità impressioniste e ci pensa Marc Ducret a graffiare da par suo, in una strepitosa introduzione solitaria in “Wires & Moss”. Qualche episodio è più sfocato e manca forse un colpo da ko. Ma la coerenza del paesaggio sonoro riscatta anche qualche sequenza sfibrata.

Buon disco.

Free Jazz review by Tom Burris

CF 259Angelica Sanchez Quintet  – Wires & Moss  (CF 259)
Angelica Sanchez is one of the main reasons that Rob Mazurek Pulsar Quartet’s Stellar Pulsations is one of my favorite records of 2012.  Her sublime chord progressions and rhythmic jabs lie at the heart of what makes that great band work.  Basically, she’s Mazurek’s Herbie Hancock, freely pushing and pulling the other members of the group with intuitive grace.

On this, her fourth album as a leader, her approach isn’t one of balance, but one of counterpoint – usually with guitarist Marc Ducret as her brilliant adversary.  Ducret plays angular, choppy figures against Sanchez’s fluid, lyrical lines – and then they switch roles.  The duels manage to get very tangled, as the two musicians playing the chording instruments in the group.  The richness they create as they weave around each other is enchanting and spellbinding.

The themes don’t jump out and announce themselves, but sneak up on you later – after you’ve stopped listening to the music – encouraging (and rewarding) many repeat listening sessions. Standout track and centerpiece, “Soaring Piasa,” builds into something approximating David S. Ware’s classic quartet, which speaks volumes about the chemistry between the players.  (This might be a good place to mention that Tony Malaby is the saxophonist.)  Everything about this album just feels right.