By Bruce Lee Gallanter
French violist Frantz Loriot has been living in NY for periods of time recently, developing collaborations with players like Joachim Badenhorst & Pascal Niggenkemper (in Baloni), as well as with Jeremiah Cymerman, Sean Ali and Carlo Costa (in Natura Morta). This disc/project was recorded live in Zurich, Switzerland in April of 2014 with a fine 10 piece ensemble, co-led by Mr. Loriot and Manuel Perovic, who did arranging and conducting as well as composing. Besides Mr. Loriot & Mr. Bandenhorst, the only names I know here are Silvan Jeger from Day & Taxi and Yuko Oshima from a duo called Donkey Monkey with pianist Eve Risser.
Mr. Loriot himself is an intense improviser who has done his share of solo, duo, trio and now large ensemble recordings, all engaging in their own way. The first piece, “West 4th” starts freely and intensely and then breaks into an enchanting, harmonious, near-gospel-like mid section. Odd yet winning and gliding to a soft landing. “Divison”also begins with some free frenzy with an elegant guitar line emerging from underneath. This piece builds up with rocking drums and free wailing tenor sax. Strangely enough, there is one shorter vocal piece called “To HR” which has somber lead and chorus vocals (in French) which are actually endearing and fit well in the midway point of this mostly adventurous disc. It turns out that Mr. Loriot is a fine composer of spirited, compelling melodies which wash over us like warm inviting waves, eventually breaking free of their charts as certain soloists erupt for short bursts. Guitarist Dave Gisler often plays some fine, succulent lines underneath the soaring waves above. When this disc was released with the other eight or so Clean Feed discs last month, it got lost in the shuffle. It might just be the best of that bunch. Everytime I play it, it knocks me out once more.