home » cd catalogue » Cappozzo/Lazro/Nick/Souchal - Neigen » Nick Ostrum, The Free Jazz Collective

Cappozzo/Lazro/Nick/Souchal - Neigen

Nick Ostrum, The Free Jazz Collective


Neigen, as the liner notes make clear, is German for “to tend towards.” It can also mean lean, slant, and bend. Neigen tends toward gently strained and breathy abstractions. However, this is only a proclivity. It may lean in this direction, but it is compelling because it is so elastic. It leans and bends, but also balances the extreme end of disembodied huff and puff with an infectiously obtuse (or obtusely infectious) slanted melodicism that seems to have become a sine qua non of the Parisian scene that these musicians inhabit and labels such as Ayler Records, Fou and Dark Tree have been documenting over the last few years.

Daunik Lazro (here on baritone and tenor sax) and Jean-Luc Cappozzo (trumpet, flugelhorn, and objects) are widely known entities in certain circles, Nicholas Souchal (trumpet and flugelhorn) and Michael Nick (various violins) maybe less so. As the opening track "Neigen" shows, however, they came to these sessions with like minds. The breathy malleability of the sound is a perfect open to an album that continues along these lines of windy expressionistic abstraction. (Think thick and tactic, like Joan Mitchell, rather than dense and striated like later Jackson Pollock.) The music is quite abstract. When the musicians clique, they sometimes construct thorny, ascending vines, sparsely placed rosebuds and all. Or they evoke an electrified and glitched out bagpipe, meticulously rent apart. In pieces such as "Narcisse Watered" and "Super Spell", Souchal and Cappozzo conjoin in ways evocative of Peter Evans and Nate Wooley duos, though with less abandon. Indeed, Nick and Lazro are there to moderate any fierce attack with their own extended technique contortions and lyric yelps. The reverse is true as well. This music simmers, but rarely boils. And even when it boils, it never boils over.

In short, Neigen, is very much in line with what I was expecting. It is less melodic than Garden(s), the last Lazro/Cappozzo collaboration on Ayler. Instead, it showcases the viscosity that can come with drags, draws, gasps, and breath. At its core, Neigen sounds spacious but coherent, like a layer by layer deconstruction of some piece that once was whole and still maintains some of that initial integrity, even if its pieces are dispersed.