A challenging effort by the French cellist that testifies to his growing interest in free improvisation. The date is comprised of unaccompanied solos and duets with three of the most active and creative French musicians. It opens with a couple of difficult and abrasive pieces that only represent one side of a multifaceted talent that also thrives on melodiousness and playfulness. This versatility allows the longest solo pieces to have enough staying power to maintain the listener's attention throughout. These pieces are also ideal to appreciate the cellist's extended technique and to enjoy the many moods he sets applying the full range of his instrument. At times, his original pizzicato evokes the guitar or the harp with beautiful results. The duets offer various formats. Guitarist Noël Akchoté provides a throbbing background for Courtois to improvise upon, resorting for the most part to electronic special effects. With tuba player Michel Godard those roles are reversed, as on the aptly titled and facetious "Vol d'Éléphant, Pt. 2." Finally, the cellist engages in real dialogue with the ever-resourceful Yves Robert, whose masterful trombone is once again a delight from start to end. Their enthralling conversation on "Que Reste-t-il de Nos Yorks?" is full of twists and turns, not to mention humor.
AllMusic Review by Alain Drouot