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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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Water Alert

Label Bleu LBLC 6698


1. Afrique à l’eau
2. O Africa
3. Blues d’eau
4. Flaque Nuage
5. O Elvin
6. Flaque Etoile
7. Reggae d’eau
8. Flaque Soleil
9. S.O.S. Mir
10. Flaque Lune
11. Sacrifice d’eau
12. Valse à l’eau
Sébastien Texier – Clarinet, alto clarinet, alto sax
Francois Corneloup – Baritone sax
Guéorgui Kornazov – Tombone
Manu Codjia – Guitar
Christophe Marguet – Drums
Henri Texier – Double bass

Henri Texier established himself as one of France’s outstanding bassists through his deep, full-bodied tone, which attracted such collaborators as Bud Powell, Louis Sclavis, Joe Lovano, John Abercrombie, Bob Brookmeyer and Lee Konitz. In recent years he has become particularly interested in the music of Africa and India, and the former has clearly influenced this album, which is also based around Texier’s ecological concerns – namely "the politics of water". This explains the many references to "l’eau" in the tune titles (flaque means "puddle"). The sleeve-note explains that the album celebrates "the miracle that is water" as well as expressing outrage at the harm done by poisoning water supplies.
This outrage is clearly voiced by the many passages of virtually free blowing. In fact the first track is a mixture of avant-garde outbursts from the front line and a strong African beat from the rhythm section. This mixture continues in subsequent tracks. O Africa starts with a strongly funky melody which is interrupted by a swirling, free-form sax solo and an equally anarchic drum solo. Blues d’eau is calmer – flowing easily like a placid stream. Flaque Nuage is a feature for the outspoken trombone of Guéorgui Kornazov, while I guess that O Elvin refers to Elvin Jones, as its gliding rhythm might be a tribute to that drummer. Flaque Etoile is a noisy bit of free improv by the two reedmen.
Other influences from World Music besides Africa are evident in tracks like Reggae d’eau, which includes a bass solo that allows us to savour Henri Texier’s rich sound. For something completely different, Sacrifice d’eau is a discordant piece on which the guitar growls angrily before the whole band enters with what sounds like a concerted dirge. As a contrast, the album ends with the calm Valse à l’eau, a romantic, sorrowful piece.

This is an album of contrasts – often demanding, but it’s worth staying with, as repeated listenings reveal new delights in the company of six musicians who clearly have something to say.

Tony Augarde


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