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Le Retour by Lucien Dubuis Trio

Swiss reedman Lucien Dubuis is a well-seasoned Swiss artiste who communicates youthful vigor with maturity well beyond his thirty-three years. As this 2007 trio date encompasses the progressive jazz realm with elements of punk-ish abandon, rock, off-kilter funk grooves and more. Nonetheless, the band morphs various renegade stylistic attributes into its musicality via foot-stomping grooves, abetted by Roman Nowka’s beefy bass lines and drummer Lionel Friedli’s snappy beats.

Dubuis uses his lower-register reeds to add oomph and punch to the rhythmic foundations while rendering quirky and often-soaring alto sax lines. The band’s forceful approach is tinted with humor and New York downtown style breakouts, where they display the energies of an avant, rock-unit in spots. They even toss in a bit of funky, Americana on the piece titled "You’re Awesome." But the sky is the limit for these folks, where Nowka’s surf guitar lines provide the impetus for a booming rhythmic exercise during the rousing jaunt "Quincoquin."

It’s all cleverly done, while the trio does manage to sustain an identifiable sound and scope throughout these hard-hitting and bouyant works. However the final number (after a long delay following track #18) is a throwaway rocker, featuring Nowka’s vocals that sound like they’re traversing a cheap, toy mic. Ultimately, Dubuis’ cunningness and vision offers a refreshing antidote to many ho hum standardizations of prog-jazz. In the meantime, he’s rapidly building a name for himself within the global jazz scheme of things.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Lucien Dubuis Trio
  • CD Title: Le Retour
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Unit Records
  • Musicians: Lucien Dubuis (alto sax, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet), Roman Nowka (bass, guitar, vocals), Lionel Friedli (drums), Dania Rodari (vocals)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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