A tender and incredibly tasteful addition to Texier's CV
Chris Jones 2009-03-06
Bass player Henri Texier's pedigree as one of France's leading jazz players stretches way back to his days as a supporting player for visitors such as Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon and Phil Woods. Since then he's worked with Steve Swallow and Joe Lovano in his Transatlantik Quartet as well as Louis Sclavis. Now in his 60s, Texier plays with men half his age in his Red Route Quartet (a name inspired by a London road sign, apparently) including his son Sebastien on reeds. Love Songs Reflexions is a beautifully paced combination of standards lovingly rendered, with the occasional foray into free territory.
Recent work has seen Texier bring more North African influences to bear, and these are most evident here when Texier junior uses the clarinet on group compositions such as the improvised A Vif. Guitarist Manu Codjia is just fabulous throughout: his use of swell and compression creating clean Rypdal-like lines that soar through freer pieces such as Intuition.
But it's the standards that really shine here. Cole Porter's I Love You and Easy To Love; Billie's God Bless The Child or Duke Ellington's In A Sentimental Mood are all dispatched with equal measures of respect for the melody and each other's space. While American critics have been known to be a tad sniffy about Texier's double bass work, falling, as it does, somewhere between tradition and exploration, but here its tone rings out with a sureness that pins down every track masterfully, especially on the group's Emouvantes Blues.
Love Songs is a tender and incredibly tasteful addition to Texier's CV that will only bolster his well-deserved reputation.