Cappozzo/Lazro/Nick/Souchal - Neigen

Ken Waxman, JazzWord


Creating perceptive sound insights, a quartet of experienced French improvisers convene an unusual configuration for unique technical approaches. Featured are trumpeters/flugelhornists Jean-Luc Cappozzo and Nicolas Souchal, violinist Michael Nick and tenor/baritone saxophonist Daunik Lazro. All have played together in various ensembles, but never in one like this.

Lacking a rhythm section or dedicated chordal instruments, it’s Nick’s strident sul ponticello stropping and the clanging of Cappozzo’s so-called objects which pace the in-the-moment improvisations. Even so, emphasis is on low-pitched reed split tones and smears, two-part brass tongue stabs and inner tube-like burbles plus spicatto string glissandi than horizontal evolution. Squalling or squeaking multiphonics, Lazro extracts flattement and hiccupping spits in the exposition of “Les fenêtres de périodes impaires” with the same fluidity he brings to clenched vocalized growls on “Super spell” that slide down from altissimo yelps to barely there splintered whistles. Contrapuntal responses from brass players include burbles, grainy smears and a division between open-horn textures from one and plunger growls from the other. At the same time besides strategies like pressurized whines, either trumpeter can create an obbligato, as on “Point d'assemblage” for a buttery melodic sequence, which stands out and contrasts with Nick’s spiccato string jolts until it concentrates as part of a brass-led finale.

“Apnée d'aphné” is the most extended instance of the quartet’s intuitive changes and adaptations. Beginning with unaccented breaths pushed through the horns’ bells, the horizontal line is challenged by Nick’s jagged electrified glissandi. Responding with reed buzzes and capillary whines the sequence’s pace is transformed to presitssimo with irregular horn dabs and string stropping. Finally a needed end point arrives after the apparently unstoppable violin ostinato is breached by smeary brass flutters. Neigen is most notable for showing how quickly and inventively the four players react to unexpected demands in spite of the so-called limitations in instrumentation. Its quality confirms the adaptability of committed improvisers to any situation.