Globe Unity: France
European TV Brass Trio
Seine scenes unfold as a brass trio marches along the quais of Paris, as funky and quirky in its way as a New Orleans street band. In and out, up and down stone stairs, cutting stutter-steps, plunger-muted blares and sputtering tuba twist-and-shouts. Then comes a chorale out of Holst, a schmaltzy landler dance, brisk swing shuffles. Yo, where we at? Crescent City or City of Lights? On top of that, we get remixes of four tracks that mutate trumpet (Matthias Schreifl), trombone (Daniel Casimir) and tuba (Francois Thuillier) into Reich loops and Glass house. Thus European-TV-Brass-Trio's Wunschklang gives us a merrily misguided tour of a mid-Atlantic world of their collective creation. This spirited group brings smart classical training and wild eclectic listening to their ensemble and keeps the listener alert and amused by their meta-musical ramblings. Instead of liner notes, they offer day-glo photos and 'very special thanks' to nearly 200 women, celebrated by their first names.
Other mid-Atlantic musical realms on today's cruise include the dark, chilly world of Les Fees du Rhin, a sax/bass/drum trio recorded in Paris; they're less happy and extrovert, caught up perhaps in a morass of emotional drudgery. Passages' collective weltanschauung often seems a Sargasso Sea of neurosessameness of sound, pale to dark gray dynamic shading, meandering improvisation with little song in their hearts. On the relatively lively "C'etait donc ca" (It was thus So), Daniel Erdmann's tenor warbles swiftly yet mournfully, Bejamin Duboc bows his bass in tight tremolo and Antoine Paganotti rattles his tubs, as they gather steam in fluid, if parallel, improvisations. Two eight-minute tracks eventually get a vamp rolling for at least rhythmic momentum. But mostly it's free-blown, soporific, slow-paced fragments that don't add up to a hill of beans: tightly-bowed or loosely plucked bass and random swats at the kit, under fluttering, breathy tenor. Deft drummer Gerard Siracusa is master of his own transatlantic island realm, king of the kit in the Radio France studio. On this flamboyantly demarcated and breathtakingly articulated solo outing, he pays direct homage to Max Roach earlyhis famous The Drum Also Dances, with its riveting 5/4 pattern (bass drum, hi-hat, bass drum, rest, rest)and often. Clean, crisp, drumming moderate in volume always trumps those other kinds and Siracusa acquits himself admirably, adhering to the time-tested techniques of effective spacing, ever varying dynamic levels, textural density/leanness and timbral interest.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: Wunschklang: 26 Rue Lanterne; Scene Egale; Mama; Songyl, The Last rose; Les Petites Collines; Paris-Köln; Elektrokut; Zwei Landschaften; Köln-Paris; Birdy Mjam Mjam; In Lockerer; Collines Remodeled; Gloubi Bulgare; Seine Equal; Birdy Riffmix.
Personnel: Daniel Casimir: trombone, voice, saxhorn; Matthias Schreifl: trumpet, flugelhorn, voice, percussion; Francois Thuillier: tuba, voice, saxhorn.
Les Fées du Rhin
Tracks: Les Fées du Rhin: Les Fées Des Eaux; Drames d'un Instant; C'était donc ca; Ou Presque; Sur Place; Petit a Petit; Que faire d'autre?; Mais comment répondre?; Ici et la; L'appel des ondines.
Personnel: Daniel Erdmann: tenor sax; Benjamin Duboc: bass; Antoine Paganotti: drums.
Tracks: Drums Immersion: Rouge; Flagrance; Monologue; Immersion; Emergence; Ilusion; Hommage.
Personnel: Gérard Siracusa: drums.