Has alto saxophonist François Carrier taken a leaf out of Charlie Parker’s book? Or perhaps Eric Dolphy’s, or even Ornette Coleman’s? Perhaps Mr Carrier could have taken a musical tip or two from any of the three iconic alto saxophonists. He seems almost certain to have listened in great depth to all three but with the sound of a singular voice and having inhabited the advanced culture of free improvisation for several decades now, Mr Carrier’s music has gone on to embrace much more besides. Even with a certain Eurocentricity in his approach to harmonic conceptualisation – something that augments his free improvised music – it is still impossible to pigeon-hole his music.
The often roughly hewn, serrated edge of his phrases and his incisive bite of his twisting lines – regularly, if not always, complemented with rhythmic thunderbolts from drummer Michel Lambert – always makes his music sound new and unexpected. The primitivism of the improvisations often alternates with extreme sophistication both feed the music’s dynamic impulse all of which results in a novelty of language that is so impressive it borders on extreme genius.
François Carrier | Michel Lambert | Alexey Lapin: Freedom is Space for the Spirit The arresting title of this trio album overflows into the music, which – in turn – combines the bewilderment of revelation forged into long, meandering yet always relevant free improvisations. On paper the music, sometimes with abstract sounding titles such as “Freedom is Space for the Spirit” and “Land of Paradoxes”, and at other times vivid narratives such as “Nevsky Prospect”, or even ethereal works with a kind of metaphysical influence as in “Keep Calm” and the effervescent “Happiness is not for Sale!”. Best of all is the music itself, which even in dissonance, noise and silence, is crystal clear seems to lock the musicians in interminable dance. This is remarkable music and when not lithe carries a powerful weight that transcends narrative clarity.
Track list – 1: Freedom is Space for the Spirit; 2: Keep Calm; 3: Happiness not for Sale! 4: Nevsky Prospect; 5: Land of Paradoxes
Personnel – François Carrier: alto saxophone and Chinese oboe; Michel Lambert: drums; Alexey Lapin: piano
Label – FMR Disques (FMR CD 425)
Runtime – 1:05:12
François Carrier | Michel Lambert: Out of Silence This work by François Carrier shows his acute feeling for harmonic and instrumental colours, a sensual delight in sounds – and, of course, silences – for their own sakes, and a wonderful ability to translate visual and poetic images into music of haunting vividness. Nowhere is this clearer than in “Soul Play”, which seems to be inspired by a kind of ethereal visitation from the spirit world, which is mirrored in an impressionistic musical haze in which sounds emerge seemingly from the mists of the spirit world. So detailed is Mr Carrier’s voice on alto saxophone and Chinese oboe and when combined with the percussive rumbling groove of Mr Lambert’s contributions to the music it’s hard to believe that there are only two musicians who combine to produce the album’s kaleidoscopic range of sounds.
Track list – 1: Out of Silence; 2: A Thousand Birds; 3: For No Reason; 4: Soul Play; 5: When the Heart Starts Singing; 6: Meadows and Shores and Hills; 7: Happy to You
Personnel – François Carrier: alto saxophone and Chinese oboe; Michel Lambert: drums
Label – FMR Disques (FMR CD 455)
Runtime – 58:34
François Carrier | Michel Lambert: Beyond Dimensions Back on the familiar turf of the outer- or otherworld, François Carrier paints imaginary landscapes with his alto saxophone. The topographical, rather than geometrical approach to the Space-Time continuum of “dimensions” (and beyond) is typical of Mr Carrier the music in these long and twisting improvisations and at its heart is a sombre haunting lyricism – powerfully muted for most of the time, but often rising at strategic moments in each piece to a vast a shattering climax. Two musical signposts stand out from the state of constant flux: melodic fragments for alto saxophone and bass acoustic guitar, and a more elaborate state of being for the drums. Throughout we are reminded of the lyricism not only of François Carrier but of Michel Lambert and Rafal Mazur as well.
Track list – 1: Open Dream; 2: Namagirl; 3: Unseen; 4: Beyond Dimensions
Personnel – François Carrier: alto saxophone and Chinese oboe; Michel Lambert: drums; Rafal Mazur: acoustic bass guitar
Label – FMR Disques (FMR CD 477)
Runtime – 1:18:08