Régis Huby 4tet

Equal Crossing
Abalone Productions AB 027

Having spent the past two decades or so leaping rabbit-like from one musical idiom to another, French violinist Régis Huby appears to have found the perfect creative outlet with the quartet that interprets this work. Composed by Huby as a three-movement, seven track suite, Equal Crossing is a musical edifice filled with sonic souvenirs collected by the Rennes-born violinist’s voyages along electro-acoustic shores with the likes of trumpeter Serge Adam and guitarist Noël Akchoté plus residency in the rooms of chamber-improv with stylists such as reedist Louis Sclavis and Quatuor IXI.

Considering his options that metaphorically merge the Budapest String Quartet, the Ventures and the Modern Jazz Quartet, Huby’s associates here are equally musically ambidextrous. Known for his engagements with saxophonist Tim Berne, guitarist Marc Ducret also leads his own bands, while Bruno Angelini, who plays piano, Fender Rhodes and mini Moog here has worked with drummers Ramón López and Edward Perraud among others. Adding Italian spice to the otherwise Gallic repast is percussionist Michele Rabbia, who has worked with saxophonist Andy Sheppard.

With the parts of the First Movement enlarging the composition like an antelope being engulfed by a boa constrictor, the sweetened exposition advanced by rococo violin and acoustic guitar soon bulges with tremolo keyboard rumble, percussion backbeat and swelling guitar reverb, suggesting the idea of Eric Clapton joining a court orchestra that utilizes period instruments and scores. Baroque-like chording from Angelini makes its appearance throughout, most prominently on “Part 3 - The Crossing of Appearances”. But this weft- thread detailing is only one part of Angelini’s keyboard tapestry that includes electric piano match-ups with guitar reverb, surges of organ-like juddering from the mini-Moog and joining with electronic processors for an intermittent ostinato. Huby’s heighted string acumen is displayed throughout, especially on track such as “Part 1 - Are we from …?” and “Part 2 - The Synthesis of Now-here” where his tonal synthesis nearly creates the textures of an entire string section. Like an Olympiad who exceeds his personal best, Huby takes this violin-command one step further on “Part 1 - Imaginary Bridges” where his stinging string-intonation brings forth both cello-like tones from the bottom and violin-like timbres from the top of his fiddle. It’s also on this track that the suite reaches its climax, as a contrapuntal variance between spiccato violin thrusts and supplementary guitar neck pressure reach a crescendo of intertwined tones on top of a buzzing vamp. From this point on multiple impulses are audible with palimpsest-like echoes as the composition fades with the finality of bells being silenced.

If the violinist has attained his apogee with Equal Crossing his fellow sound astronauts contribute equally to its success. Hopefully this crew will voyage again.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: Movement 1/Part 1 - Faith & Doubt 2. Part 2 - Doubt & Fear Movement 2/3. Part 1 - Are we from …? 4. Part 2 - The Synthesis of Now-here 5. Part 3 - The Crossing of Appearances Movement 3/ 6. Part 1 - Imaginary Bridges 7. Part 2 - Horizon’s Crossing

Personnel: Régis Huby (tenor violin, electric violin and electronics); Marc Ducret: acoustic and electric guitars); Bruno Angelini (piano, Fender Rhodes, Little Phatty [mini-Moog]) and Michael Rabbia (percussion and electronics)