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Marc Ducret - ICI

Ken Waxman, JazzWord


Go play outside is the advice housebound and bored children are given and French guitarist Marc Ducret figured the advice was as applicable for musicians confined inside because of 2020-2021’s Covid restrictions. Collecting Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser plus fellow Gallic players Christophe Monniot who plays sopranino, alto and baritone saxophones and Fabrice Martinez, who ranges among trumpet, flugelhorn and tuba, the quartet assembled on the riverbank near the guitarist’s rural home and recorded these rare tracks.

The sounds are rare because Durcet, known for his intense, electrified playing with Tim Berne and others, animates a neo-Arcadian groove where his electrified drones and assertive chording are used to secure and centre his own improvisations and those of the others. Additional harmonized continuum is created by the horn trio with layered undulating surges. At the same time frequent solo interludes are part of the two tunes’ evolution to highlight elongated string drones, laconic strums or pace-setting frails from Durcet; Blaser’s scooped plunger tones or chortling shakes and smears; and the multiple sonic identities of Martinez and Monniot. While the former’s tuba bursts are the lowest pitches of the brass vamps which propel a tune like “L’été, ici”, elsewhere his facility on trumpet and flugelhorn provide portamento flutters which project pressure and power without disrupting the bucolic simplicity of the session. Monniot’s baritone honks play a similar grounding role as the tuba farts, yet his splayed projections on the smaller saxes simultaneously maintain musical urbanity when he piles numerous tongue stops and split tones into his solos.

This supple see-saw between countrified and cutting-edge sounds is best expressed on “Le printemps, ici”, as bucolic harmonies give way to a concluding soothing yet urbane effervescent motif. Melding echoing string twangs and horn yelps into a distinct jumble the result reflects both the musicians’ adaptative skills and the setting in which they’ve created this distinctive set.