Rémi Charmasson

L' Ombre de la Pluie

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AllMusic Review by François Couture

Guitarist Rémi Charmasson, bassist Claude Tchamitchian, and drummer Jean-Pierre Jullian all became invested in the Parisian new jazz scene at around the same time -- the late '80s -- playing together. L'Ombre de la Pluie (Shadow of the Rain) catches them over a decade later in an improv setting. This trio holds no pretension to play "non-idiomatic" improv, au contraire. Charmasson embraces the rock aura of his instrument, pushing toward wailing noise, virtuosic jazz-rock soloing, and post-Django Reinhardt improvisation, often all in the same piece. Jullian can choose to fall in line with his occasional riffs or ignore them. When he settles into a fugitive beat (as in "Éloge du Souvenir" or the title track), Tchamitchian will step in to play the disruptive role, sawing away with his bow to remind listeners that, after all, this is not rock. In fact, between the guitar and the drums, this bassist becomes the real creative player, finding space where others would see nothing, choosing arco when it seems the least obvious, and developing a sense of awkward melodiousness that has become a trademark of his. There is a lot of brute power in this trio, but tons of listening too. "Nuit Mobile" is an exercise in restraint; "L'Hiver...Avec les Loups" contains some fascinating instant counterpoint. Maybe one might wish the musicians had pushed their art further, as they sound almost too comfortable in this setting and some tracks lack new ideas, but that doesn't come between the listener and his or her enjoyment.

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