Cédric Hanriot: Time Is Color

Fluent Hancock-aware French pianist mixes jazz with atmospheric, heavily processed hip-hop, rap and reflection

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French pianist and “sound designer” Hanriot (born 1976) has a CV that includes work with Herbie Hancock and Dianne Reeves, John Patitucci, Michael Janisch and Terri Lynne Carrington. The last-named is one of a number of musicians, including Greg Osby and Danilo Pérez, who rate highly the variously modulated touch, rhythmic vivacity and overall conceptual imagination of Hanriot.

The intriguingly titled Time Is Color is Hanriot’s latest release, following French Stories (2010), City Of Poets (2016) and Day (2018). While you can sense a diverse Hancock influence on tracks like Water and Souly, there’s no doubt that Hanriot has become his own man, with these lucid and captivating pieces distinguished by a finessed range of texture and colour (and on some tracks, engagingly delivered rap). Now edgy and vibrant, now musing and poetic, the music is delivered by a crisply honed trio (plus occasional guests). All are from Hanriot’s hand save for the melding of Nirvana’s Come As You Are and Massive Attack’s Teardrop. 

If I much prefer Hanriot’s title to the dispiriting (and disgusting) advice offered by Benjamin Franklin – “Time is money” – I’m a touch perplexed by aspects of Hanriot’s brief sleeve-note. We learn of his interest in an experience of time that is as subjective as it is both abstract and visceral, and of his conviction that his compositions are fed by “no sagacious thoughts or feelings” in a process “led only by raw, uninhibited emotion”.

So: no mention of synaesthesia, Proust or Bergson, Heidegger or the Tao Te Ching. As for “raw, uninhibited emotion”, let’s remember that Hanriot attended Berklee College of Music and holds an MA in Electronic Engineering and Signal Processing from the University of Nancy. Rather than “raw, uninhibited emotion” I sense here a contemporary, intelligent and discriminating awareness of the many intricacies and expansions of cross-genre rhythmic interplay, atmospheric colour and dynamic tension which have infused jazz in recent decades. Fine music.

Discography
(1) Monday The 26th; (2) Run; (1) Nitro; Water; (2) Souly; (3) Souly Interlude; (2) Reverie; Come As You Are / Teardrop; (1) Friday; (2) Further; Autumn; (4) Further Interlude; Solace (48.39)
Hanriot (p, kyb, sound design); Bertrand Beruard (b); Elle Martin Charriere (d, pc) plus guests Days (v); Jason Palmer (t); Braxton Cook (as). Peninsula Studio, Sarzeau, France, c.2021.
Morphosis Arts LMA 001