Recommended: Vincent Courtois – “West”


Vincent Courtois - "West"West is an absolutely captivating chamber jazz session from cellist Vincent Courtois, and it joins an impressive collection of similar projects released over the years, each of them enchanting in their own way.

On his newest, he’s joined by frequent collaborators, saxophonist Daniel Erdmann and multi-reedist Robin Fincker, as well as pianist Benjamin Moussay.  Interspersed throughout are solo cello pieces, and the shift between an austere beauty and the subtle, yet dynamic textures of the collaborative pieces creates an ebb and flow that is positively magnetic.

The slow harmonic build of “So Much Water So Close To Home” is matched beautifully with a quivering melody.  The gentle raindrops of “1852 Metres Plus Tard” is a slow reveal of sharp flashes of lightning.  “Modalites” is a gripping crosshatch of layers and permutations of repetition.  “Nowhere” is cold moonlight and “L’intuition” is the lonely soul staring up at it.  “West” soars & gallops simultaneously while “Freaks” is an old soul strolling slow.

The frantic march of “Tim au Nohic” dials it down for “Désarçonné” without sacrificing a bit of its fervor.  When it dials it back up for “Semaphore,” the flow of the transitions is as natural as water wending its way between rocks in a stream.

Some of the tunes hit a solemn Sunday morning jazz while others veer off into classical and ambient territory more akin to a Steve Reich or Brian Eno.  This is peaceful music that flashes some sharp teeth from time to time… and ultimately winds up being a massively sublime affair.  The album ends with a reprise of “1852 Metres Plus Tard,” and emphasizes exactly that last point.

Your album personnel:  Vincent Courtois (cello, guide chant), Daniel Erdmann (tenor sax), Robin Fincker (clarinet, tenor sax) and Benjamin Moussay (piano, harpsichord, celesta, toy piano).

Released on La Buissonne.

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Music from France.

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