Adventurous expressionism is a key factor within semi-structured or avant jazz-based endeavors. With their second quartet outing for Intakt Records, pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and violinist Mark Feldman cover a gamut of articulately designed modes of interaction. Introspective, sublime and occasionally foreboding, the quartet engineers a potpourri of delicacies, all executed with a deterministic modality.
On pieces such as “Dunes,” the sterling audio processing might enable the listener to hear a pin drop within the soloists’ mesmeric interplay and investigate approach to theme-building. Throughout, Courvoisier and Feldman generate off-kilter contrasts and polytonal forms of counterpoint. Whether they evolve matters into a lashing or propulsive statement via extended notes or precision-oriented unison forays, the artists often intersperse the element of surprise in key spots.
Courvoisier gently plucks the piano strings to add unorthodox overtones as Feldman renders nimble staccato lines during passages that elicit harrowing propositions. And the quartet’s overall emotive output is devised on fluent phrasings amid traces of minimalism or soaring opuses. Hence, the diversity of this set cannot be understated.
On “Inceptions,” the all-star rhythm section dishes out a staggered pulse as a foundation for the soloists to navigate through peaks, valleys, and bumpy roads that smooth out over time. The program also features sojourns into classical concepts and movements that often summon notions of drifting into an abyss.
The qualitative aspects of Hotel Du Nord are seemingly boundless. The quartet conveys a sense of intrigue that encompasses capacious environs, bridged with various rhythmic metrics and a consortium of imaginative dialogues. Many would anticipate that they would not deliver anything less meaningful or substantial, given the respective musicians’ extraordinary inscription on the jazz vernacular.