François Carrier/Michael Lambert/John Edwards

FMR CD 501

Continuing to expose his Universalist free jazz as globally as possible, Montreal alto saxophonist François Carrier recorded these extended tracks at concerts in London and Krakow. While the sonic flow appears almost unstoppable in intensity and inspiration, Carrier is no musical cynosure. Not only is inventive Quebec percussionist Michel Lambert, who has long played Robin to Carrier’s Batman on board, but British bassist John Edwards adds his ambidextrous command of Arco and pizzicato pulses to the mix.

At the same time as the three confirm throughout, the trio’s free-form music is anything but unbridled bombast There is definitely the requisite amount of shrill irregular vibrations, tongue slaps and altissimo squeals from the saxophonist; rubs, rumbles and pitter-patter from the drummer; and thumps and pulsations from the bassist, many of which evolve in parallel counterpoint to one another, but the narratives aren’t limited to abstractions. Especially on the more-than 29½ minute concluding “Wilderness”, tranches of melody that have been almost audible in earlier improvisations are now more discernible as the interpretations stretch further and further outwards. Carrier’s soloing is more mellow and assured; Edwards’ string strokes thicker and more responsive; and Lambert’s careful rhythms underscore the others’ designs. Sometimes the narrative is also sub-divided into a duo of guitar-like plinks from the bassist and querulous vibrations from Carrier or by having Lambert’s husky raps matched by reed stutters. Crucially the climax is reached only after the last iota of emotional expression has been squeezed out of each instrument’s exposition.

The elements exposed throughout are high quality musicianship coupled with limitless inspiration.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Elements 2. Roar of Joy 3. Wilderness

Personnel: Francois Carrier (alto saxophone); John Edwards (bass) and Michel Lambert (drums)