Noël Akchoté

Adult Guitar

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Both a new album and a career-encompassing collection, Adult Guitar sounds like the soundtrack to an autobiographical documentary. We are presented with 20 short pieces, some of them excerpts, recorded between 1982 and 2003, and presented non-chronologically, as if they were meant to illustrate a narrative, interview, or conversation with Akchoté. Some of the material presented here is strongly reminiscent of the guitarist's Joseph series ("Montée 74" and the merciless feedback sculpting of "Numéro 122" being highlights), but many other facets of Akchoté are also featured. Providing a backbone for the album is a string of jazz standards recorded by the guitarist in 2003. His interpretations of such well-known melodies as "Petite Fleur," "It Could Happen to You," and "I Love You" are devoid of any nostalgic intention and give the tunes a new kind of edge or authenticity (not unlike Anthony Braxton's own approach to standards; see 23 Standards). The demo from 1982 is of a strictly historical interest, but the track with drummer Emiko Ota (an excerpt from the soundtrack to Eric Zonca's La Vie Rêvée des Anges) adds a nice touch of rhythm to the set. The short tracks recorded at master classes by Dave Liebman and Didier Levallet, and the excerpt from Akchoté's interview with Jacques Thollot (in French) feel like they are missing images, or at least a narrative, and could have been dropped from the track list without affecting its cohesion. Then again, they bring another level of fragmentation to this representation of Akchoté's persona. In any case, a "best-of" collection or introductory-level set this is definitely not.

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