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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

CD Review: Louis Sclavis Quartet – Silk and Salt Melodies

Louis Sclavis (clarinet), Gilles Coronado (guitar), Benjamin Moussay (piano, keyboard), Keyvan Chemirani (percussion).
(Review by Hugh)
Silk and Salt Melodies is Louis Sclavis' tenth album for ECM. He has previously collaborated with Gilles Coronado and Benjamin Moussay on his last album Sources. On this new album, which was recorded in a studio near Avignon in March 2014, the trio are joined by Iranian classical percussionist, Keyvan Chemirani who brings a new dimension to their sound world. Chemirani has played in many different formats from classical Iranian music to working with musicians from India, Greece, Turkey and Spain.

The title Silk and Salt indicates Sclavis' desire “for this work to take an imaginary, nomadic Central Asian route, but also to address the idea of emigration in world history”. This album journeys away from and back to jazz with travelling rhythms and melodies predominating. All the compositions on the album are by Louis Sclavis.
Our journey commences with Le parfum de l'exil and we progress via L'homme sud; L'autre rive; Sel et soie; Dance for horses; Des feux lointains; Cortege; Dust and dogs, ending with the short and sweet (at just over a minute) Prato plage.
It is difficult to pick out any particular track as they are very much in a continuum. Salt and Silk Melodies is what, in the 1970s, would have been called a 'concept album'. Sclavis has a beautiful tone on the clarinet and there is some highly dynamic group interaction with his fellow musicians, all of whom are featured prominently at different stages during this musical journey.
This album can only loosely be termed “jazz” - there certainly elements of the music in here, but there is a melange of many musical forms. However, one thing is for certain, this is definitely music we are hearing and the virtuosity of the four members of the quartet will be appreciated by anyone with half a musical ear.
Silk and Salt Melodies was released in the UK on 25August. ECM Catalogue Number 378 6537.

Hugh.

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