Thursday, August 13, 2015

Francois Tusques, le fond de l'air, with Mirtha Pozzi, Pablo Cueco

Pianist Francois Tusques was a seminal force in the early European free jazz movement. If he sometimes does not get the recognition he deserves, many of his early recordings can be found on the net these days, and they are very recommended listening. The good news is that he continues to thrive as a performer. A recent release, le fond de l'air (improvising beings 31) finds him in great form as the principal melody-harmony instrument in a trio with two very worthy ethno-percussionists, Mirtha Pozzi on n'tama, bombo, tamboril, etc., and Pablo Cueco on zarb, berimbao, cajon, quijada, etc.

The entire proceedings were recorded live at Chez Helene Aziza, Paris, in front of an appreciative audience.

What's nice about all this is is first off Francois' broad expanse of stylistic coverage, from the classic "Come Sunday" to open freedom and more structured playing that has the rhythmic drive to complement the two percussionists in his own way, with a special concentration and focus. And there are moments where he channels African and Afro-Latin grooves to go with the drumming, too.

You hear lots of rhythmic vitality from the primal percussive movement and a wide gamut of jazz-piano roots by Tusques as well--perhaps a Monk flavor now and then and things quite beyond in an open zone but very much Tusquesian.

The percussionists set up some wonderful pulsations and Francois locks in with his own take on the piano. He remains very much himself, yet the percussionists get something out of him not always entirely typical but excellent nonetheless.

An unusual album and very much a feather in the considerably feathered hat of Francois Tusques! Highly recommended.

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