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Guillaume de CHASSY
LUNES

Cantate Jazz

Lune [7.09]
Ali Baba [4.39]
Été 1917 [5.05]
Séguiryia [10.04]
Louie Louie, por Buléria [8.02]
Majos Desnudos [6.24]
Danse des Trolls [5.23]
Post-scriptum [3.15]
Guillaume de Chassy (piano)
Pierre Dayraud (percussion)
Les Élements Vocal Ensemble/Joël Suhubiette
Recorded in the Church of Saint-Pierre-des-Chartreux, in Toulouse, July 2001
HORTUS 023 [50.01]


 

Non-Francophones are at something of a disadvantage here. The notes are only in French and there are no texts. But letís take a punt anyway and rely on oneís ears. Guillaume de Chassy has written a jazz-influenced piece that employs a chorus, his own piano playing and a drummer-percussionist. He pushes the jazz influence but it would be hard to describe the results as jazz. Against a vocal weave for instance his own piano playing is improvised; he sounds mildly post bop as a stylist whilst the chorus take on the difficult task of resembling a string choir. Much in this opening movement, Lune, is as the title suggests contemplative and spare. Then, in the second movement, a jagged piano theme bisects a vaguely African sounding choir.

The one of the movements that does owe its origin to a stimulus explicitly external to all this is the third, Été 1917. Here de Chassy quotes from Prokofievís First Violin Concerto though itís interesting that the piano chords are distinctly Rachmaninovian. We also have a piano and percussion funeral dance with its mildly keening choir. The Goya tribute comes in the form of a Samba sounding rhythm and Majos Desnudos goes instead for romantic tints shaded by sparky rhythmic piano. The title of Danse des Trolls may sound a touch Grieg-like but it actually encroaches into those Cubano Bop sessions of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The tribute is putatively to Eastern European music (part Turkish? Albanian?), whereas elsewhere itís to Flamenco but to my ears whenever de Chassy celebrates either forms Ė and three are apparently Flamenco derived - the music always ends up sounding Latin American.

Something of a strange brew, then. Much melismatic choral writing with improvised piano and percussion parts and an attempt to coalesce and fuse the two worlds. The ambition is given spine by utilising folk derived musics and by de Chassyís own Herbie Hancock inspired piano playing. Does it work? And more to the point, what actually is it? Put simply; Iím not sure and Iíve no idea - but I enjoyed listening to it.

Jonathan Woolf



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