Louis Sclavis's band of the season is the Atlas Trio, an ensemble with a global reach of reference in which the French clarinettist is partnered by Benjamin Moussay on keyboards and Gilles Coronado on electric guitar. Chamber-improvisation, polyrhythmic grooves, minimalistic pulse patterns, enveloping ambience, rhapsodic piano and funky Fender Rhodes, distorted guitar, clarinet soliloquies, contrapuntal themes, free group playing, a bit of everything. An open-form aesthetic applies in multi-facetted music simultaneously exploratory and involving.
Recorded in the South of France last September, Sources - Louis's ninth album for ECM - features a programme of new Sclavis compositions, and is issued in advance of a major showcase at the Europa Jazz Festival in Le Mans and other touring.
Louis Sclavis, born 1953 in Lyon, has brought new impulses to jazz in Europe. He has been an ECM artist since 1991, when Rouge was recorded. Subsequent albums for the label are Acoustic Quartet, Les Violences de Rameau, L'affrontement des prétendants, Dans La Nuit, Napoli's Walls, L'imparfait des langues and most recently Lost on the Way.
The observations of US critic Gary Giddins, made almost a decade ago in the Village Voice, still hold true: "Louis Sclavis has become an increasingly uncategorizable light in European jazz, devoting as much energy to seamless composition as to extended improvisation, breaking down rhythms so that swing or rock or a kind of static Morse-code repetition are options designed to stimulate specific emotional grounding, and exploring the often neglected legacy of French music; he is staking out his own precinct from which to pursue the jazz muse
He has yet to repeat himself in the ECM cycle."
Personnel: Louis Sclavis (clarinets), Benjamin Moussay (piano, Fender rhodes, keybord), Gilles Coronado (electric guitar)