With the death of John Carter, there are so few outstanding jazz clarinetists that Canadian François Houle's startlingly original voice is revelatory. The clarinetist's influences are varied, drawing on new classical music and the entire jazz tradition. Here, he plays in tandem with Benoit Delbecq, who joins his colleague on piano (which in some cases is preprogrammed). Most of the music is improvised, and much of it is surprisingly slow and wistful. Several of the tracks are dedications, giving an idea of their direction: for example, "Rhizome I (For Guillermo Gregorio)," "Rhizome III (For Joëlle Léandre)," and "Rhizome IV (For Arnold Schoenberg)." There is often a chamber feel, particularly from Delbecq, while Houle's extended technique infuses the recording with unusual twists.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy