Featuring Pascal Contet on accordion, Bruno Chevillon on contrabass and Francois Corneloup on soprano and baritone saxes. Contrabassist extraordinaire, Bruno Chevillon, is without a doubt one of the finest bassists in Europe and has consistently floored me the few times I’ve heard him with Louis Sclavis, Marc Ducret, Daniel Humair and Jean Derome.
I just heard saxist Francois Corneloup on the above-mentioned trio disc with Marc Ducret and Martin France and he is another fine French musician who shouldn’t be ignored. I hadn’t heard of Pascal Contet before this disc, however he does have a duo disc out with Joelle Leandre and has worked with Jean- Pierre Drouet, Andy Emler & Vinko Globokar. He appears to be more known for his work performing modern classical compositions. With a resume like the one above, I was more than intrigued. From the opening notes of "Toujours Effeuree", Bruno is tapping out harmonics on his bass, producing sounds that only he can make, as Francois twists his notes and Pascal presents eerie drones on his accordion. Although all of this is improvised, it is completely focused and fascinating throughout. As Pascal stretches his notes out slowly magically on "Le Chemin des Dames", Bruno provides a deep melodic undertow. Francois’ bari sax also answers that haunting melody with some somber reflections, hushed and quietly enchanting.
The rich, warm textures of baritone sax, contrabass and accordion sound superb together since they come form a similar tonal range and enhance each other’s sound as they work as one connected force. This is one of those special sessions that goes way beyond the expectations of mere improvisations and into the realm of those magic-making masters. - BLG. downtown music gallery.
Pascal Contet plays accordion, Bruno Chevillon bass and François Corneloup baritone sax. And this trio tries to give a new definition to music on this CD.
The title "Nu" can of course be read as the English "new", but also and more appropriately as the French for "naked". "Less is more" seems to be the core principle and the trio ventures to grasps essence of emptiness : searching for the rights sounds and how to fill an empty space with them, but then preferably as sparse, as careful and as respectful as possible. There are some really beautiful things on this CD, such as the crying sax in the opening track, or the soft bass playing in the second one, or the eery and sustained tones that Chevillon manages to squeeze out of his instrument.
This music is so fragile that you barely dare to listen to it out of fear of damaging it. But unfortunately they do not keep the creativity at high enough levels to make from each piece something great. The empty space becomes too large and their musical approach too limited, or they have to look for such unconventional angles, that it becomes too cerebral. And is really too bad, because there is some really great music here, like the last-but-one track, "Elle était la", on which Corneloup just like at the beginning gets some beautiful soft howling sounds out of his sax, perfectly accompanied by the warm bass and the hypnotic accordion.