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Marc Ducret - Tower, vol.1

Grego Edwards, gapplegate guitar & bass blog

It would be enough that Marc Ducret is a consistently interesting electric guitarist in the avant fusion zone. His composition-arrangements are also a huge factor in his music. Tower, Volume One (Ayler 118) finds him embarking on an ambitious multi-volume series of works interpreting and reacting to Vladimir Nabokov's post-modern masterpiece novel Ada. Like the labyrinthian multiple realities of that work, Tower in its first installment carves out densely textured, multi-voiced music. All that from a well-chosen quintet of Ducret on guitar, Matthias Mahler, trombone, Peter Bruun, drums, Kasper Tranberg, trumpet, and, instead of bass, the bass saxophone of Fred Gaspard. That latter factor alone (and Mr. Gaspard's zealous attack) contributes much to the unusual ensemble sound.

In essence the quintet sounds like a mini-big-band-orchestra. The parts are voiced to get a largeness and complexity of sound way over and above what you expect to hear in a group of this size.

The parts conjoin with improvisational interactions in ways that are pure Ducret. He is not Frank Zappa. He IS a logical choice for one of the handful of really stimulating jazz-rock-classic innovators following in Zappa's wake.

This is music to startle, music to sink into with absorption (and how else would someone sink in? But never mind that). It's one of Ayler Records' most illustrious releases. Marc Ducret is no "fusion as usual" or "freedom as usual" sort of musician-composer. And the band digs into the material like they wrote it.

An achievement, this is. It is. I certainly look forward to the volumes to come. Marc Ducret is not someone to watch. He is already here! He is someone essential to the avant electricity of the present. Tower, Volume One has all the earmarkings of an album of vital importance to what's happening this year, even this decade. If the volumes that follow are this good. . . well, we will have to wait for them and see.