Christophe Berthet

Effet Papillon

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This is a nice duo disc that surfs the line between avant-garde jazz and free improv. Christophe Berthet goes back and forth between his soprano saxophone and bass clarinet. With the former he develops lyrical melodies reminiscent of Steve Lacy and Lol Coxhill. On the latter he parallels Louis Sclavis' fluency. Vinz Vonlanthen's electric guitar playing ranges from jazz atmospheric backdrops à la Ben Monder to René Lussier-like mad strumming and whammy bar effects -- "Kyobo l'Intrépide" could as well be a lost track from Lussier and clarinetist Robert M. Lepage's 1984 LP, Chants et Danses du Monde Inanimé (that of course is meant as a compliment). These pieces exhibit the same kind of excitement, playfulness, and deep understanding between the musicians. A couple of tracks fall on the easy side, like "Australian Mood," where the bass clarinet serves up a didgeridoo-like drone. But Effet Papillon (Butterfly Effect) holds more strong moments than weak ones. In "La Longue Marche," Vonlanthen runs two paths at the same time, playing rhythmic attacks while dialoguing with the saxophonist, delivering the album's highlight. This disc may not be cutting-edge avant-garde, but it delivers an enjoyable time for the left-field jazz head.

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