Henri Texier

(V)ivre

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    7
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This is a new band, but hardly a departure for the French bassist. Save for his son, he has revamped his ensemble, which is now known as the piano-less Strada Sextet. His compositions, however, still bear his inimitable signature and continue to reflect his political stance. Revolt is a recurring theme, and certain titles clearly show on what side of the spectrum he stands; "Gandhi," penned by guitarist Manu Codjia, and "Blues for L. Peltier," which is dedicated to the imprisoned Native American activist, are unambiguous indicators. The latter is the perfect soundtrack to a protest march before it evolves into an Indian dance that brings a sense of optimism. "Old Delhi" opens with a glimpse of Texier at his best, and he elicits some scorching contributions from his sidemen, particularly saxophonist François Corneloup, trombonist Guéorgui Kornazov, and Codjia. Elsewhere, the leader's determination and renewed aggression are insufficient to mask a certain lack of inspiration or inability to renew himself. Interestingly enough, the real novelty emerges from the pieces written by the new bandmembers; usually more abstract than Texier's, these tunes are so short that they suggest a reluctance by the leader to delegate compositional duties. Such criticism should not alter the viewpoint that this is a fine recording that might represent a transition for the leader, a primer for future developments.