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The beautiful floral scenery of French trumpeter Jean-Luc Cappozzo’s garden in the Luzillé village – captured in the front cover painting – must have contributed to the intimate, reflective atmosphere of this album. The three French masters – sax player Daunik Lazro, drummer Didier Lasserre, both have worked together recently as a trio with double bass player Benjamin Duboc («Pourtant Les Cimes Des Arbres and Sens Radiants», Dark Tree, 2011 and 2014), and Cappozzo – revisit iconic compositions of Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Albert Ayler, adding an original one of Cappozzo and three garden-associated improvisations.
Lazro begins with with a touching, lyrical interpretation of Ellington’s «Sophisticated Lady», augmented with minimalist yet colorful cymbals work of Lasserre and trumpet interventions of Cappozzo. Cappozzo and Lasserre deepens this contemplative, melodic vein with the trumpeter’s original «Joy Spirit» (already recorded on Cappozzo’s solo album by the same title, Ayler Records, 2009), patiently charging this duet with driving energy, while Lazro contrast their emphatic mode with steely, sustained sounds. «Garden 1» is an organic conclusion of the first two pieces. A free improvisation that is focused on emphatic interplay, but flowing in a free-associative, lyrical stream. Free of form, but expands the colorful palette of sounds.
Lazro sings beautifully Coltrane’s «Lonnie’s Lament», delivering the emotional, melodic core with humble, economic phrasing, enjoying the masterful work of Lasserre and the clever harmonic abstraction of Cappozzo. The brief «Garden 2» serves a meditative microtonal interlude before the trio burst with a slow-cooking, bluesy version of Albert Ayler’s «Angels». The 15-minutes «Garden 3» concludes this chapter with a quiet improvisation focused on subtle sonic searches and fast-shifting dynamics, stressing the resourcefulness and the wisdom of these masters of improvisation. The trio finish this beautiful album with Ellington’s 1927 gem «Hop Head», a propulsive, playful fanfare that twists and plays with the swinging roots of this piece.
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