To start with a general point, we have yet to experience the effect of the coronavirus situation on a label dedicated to new talent, but there’s every reason to believe the outcome will not be positive, a point which makes a set like this, which is the work of yet another set of highly accomplished musicians, seem more starkly outlined, symbolic of a moment in the evolution of the jazz economy prior to a kind of existential meltdown, if you will.
Try though I did, I found it hard not to hear echoes of Wayne Shorter at his most enigmatically inscrutable on a track such as Trip, which has about it a certain quality that happily sets the music both at odds with and outside of much contemporary jazz.
Of course it’s inevitable that a line-up of tenor sax, piano, bass and drums, as overdone as it is, will have to strive hard to carve out an original identity, and while it can’t realistically be said that this group achieves that end, the means they have at their disposal and the ways they deploy them does result in a programme that makes for intermittently compelling listening, as in the case of Afternoon, a piece so reflective of its title that, if we assume that that time of day is a time of quiet contemplation, the continuity is admirable. Lamouri proves he’s the kind of musician who knows that underplaying can often have the most telling effect, while Hinnekens follows the same course, delicately maintaining the mood.
Memories, too, is heavily reflective and conducive to a contemplative mood. In common with a lot of tenor players both in the present day and throughout the history of jazz Lamouri’s notes in the horn’s upper ranges tend to thin out a little, but not to the point where it sounds like he’s aiming for emotional impact. For me this is welcome, not least because it’s sometimes the case that restraint can have a more profound impact.
Sample/buy Faiz Lamouri: Inner Light at freshsoundrecords.com
Inner Light; Trip (Intro); Trip; Search; Memories; Jamaa El Fna; Displaced; Delight; Afternoon; Euphoria (54.18)
Lamouri (ts); Jeremy Hinnekens (p, elp); Gabriel Midon (b); Thomas Delor (d). Paris, France, March 2019.
Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 596