French clarinetist/saxophonist Louis Sclavis has emerged into the spectrum of the great progressive-jazz musical minds. He defies rigid categorization, since he often embeds disparate musical frameworks into the scope of his recordings. Sure enough, Sclavis carries the torch on his latest ECM Records outing.
With his acoustic-electric quintet, Sclavis toggles the program between quaint and somewhat inauspicious movements into peppery sax parts and multifarious harmonic maneuvers. In addition, alto saxophonist Marc Baron resides as a strong foil. On various tracks, the band inflicts grunge-rock and EFX parameters into heated jazz grooves and whirling themes. Multi-instrumentalist Paul Brousseau assists with textural and off-kilter synth lines while the musicians’ weaving choruses are designed upon wistful musings and boisterous soloing escapades. On the piece "Dialogue with a Dream," they render a succinct chamber motif, but as the progression continues, they delve into scorching, free-jazz and mainstream swing vamps.
Maxime Delpierre fuses hard-rock guitar stylizations into various motifs, yet the ensemble’s chemistry and mode of attack includes Euro-folk and semi-structured developments. In essence, some of Sclavis’ compositions are constructed within polyrhythmic cadences, and with "Story of a Phrase," the artists generate an off-kilter blues pattern atop staggered flows and trickling electronics swashes. No doubt, Sclavis’ boundless enthusiasm and cunning foresight is in full force here.