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Daunik Lazro - Some Other Zongs

Massimo Ricci, Paris Transatlantic

Here is the work of a man who relishes isolation, throwing out impulses with arresting fervour, each discharge of blood-and-guts cruciality a direct and dramatic connection with the heart. When an artist's life is genuinely devoted to an instrument, there's no danger of compromise, and in these six live baritone sax tracks, recorded between 2010 and 2011 in Le Mans (at the Europa Jazz Festival) and Paris (at the church of Saint-Merry), every pitch, every harmonic, every bodily process projects an almost painful tendency to the affirmation of truth. Ranging from the illustration of inner conflict – occasionally adding strained utterances to the quivering reeds, as in "Zong At Saint-Merry 3" – to the quest for physical answers in the in-depth acoustic investigation of a specific location, Lazro's mix of lyricism and dirty-nailed humanity, perfectly symbolized by the desperate raucous cries heard halfway through "Zong At Saint-Merry 4", might trouble those who approach a solo saxophone album expecting to hear something familiar. Here instead they'll find a receptacle of uncomfortable feelings disclosed in utter severity. What a splendid record.