François Carrier


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This third release from the Quebec-based Carrier trio explores the rich vein of possibilities first tapped as hard bop came of age in the 1960s and began to move towards a freer conception. With passionate, uncompromising musicianship, Carrier and company probe these seams between bop structures and the avant-garde to discover fresh improvisational terrain.Carrier's playing evokes the snaking, vocal quality of Eric Dolphy, the idiosyncratic logic of Ornette Coleman, and the acerbic, outward bound post-bop of Jackie McLean, in a style that focuses on the sound, not on gratuitous, note-filled flurries. In drummer Michel Lambert and bassist Pierre Côté, Carrier has ideal allies. The supple, staccato rhythms of Billy Higgins, the pulse and intensity of Elvin Jones, and the driving cymbal work of Tony Williams all find personal expression in Lambert's committed playing. Côté, a monstrous talent, is in audible communion with his instrument -- its wood, the finish, the strings, the flesh of his hands, and his glorious tone propelling the others to riskier terrain, supporting them and, then, guiding them back. The questing musical spirit evident here has roots in the high-energy and advanced interplay of the Elvin Jones/Jimmy Garrison/Joe Farrell power trio heard on Jones' Blue Note recordings The Ultimate and Puttin' it Together. When pianist Steve Amirault joins in, as he does seamlessly for explorations on three tracks, the most obvious reference point is the John Coltrane quartet of the Impulse years, especially on the title track, which calls to mind "Spiritual" from Live at the Village Vanguard. This is music that deserves to be heard by anyone who enjoys the open-ended possibilities -- far from exhausted -- of the '60s-era Blue Note and Impulse releases that embraced the avant-garde, but still kept one foot planted in a more structured discipline.

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