This release is in the Intuition label’s European Jazz Legends series, and it’s a live performance from Henri Texier’s Hope Quartet: the leader on double bass, his son Sebastien on alto and clarinets, Francois Corneloup on baritone and Loius Moutin on drums.
In an on-stage interview which is added to this live German performance from the Theater Gütersloh, Texier links the French three-word motto liberté, égalité, fraternité to the making of jazz and it’s particularly apt as a reflection of his quartet’s sense of freedom within the music, the individual musicans’ contribution as equals to a whole, and the sense of brotherhood extending outwards to bring other strong influences into the music.
I’ve always been struck by how strongly Texier’s music has always “been jazz”, yet sounds so much more free in its influences than a lot of other jazz. His interest in traditional and folk music from around the world shows not only in the sounds and structures his group plays but in the titles of his pieces: there is a strong Native American strain running through this performance, including songs called Hopi, Navajo Dream, Comanche and Dakota Mab.
Texier father and son have a particular rapport, having played together now for some 20 years, and the low horn is a powerful player, sometimes in harmony with the alto or clarinet, sometimes enriching the bottom of the band still more. Moutin is spot-on, somtimes explosive, and Texier is a joy whether simultaneously leading and rooting the band or going on marvellously free-ranging solos.
There is something particularly French about this band and their music, and considering this concert was recorded just nine days after the Paris attacks last November, its hope and vitality is even more inspiring.
Categories: CD review