Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Francois Houle / Havard Wiik Aves Songline 2013

A delightfully abstract tale of lyrical mystery!
Brent Black / @CriticalJazz

Critically acclaimed Canadian clarinetist Francois Houle teams up with Norwegian pianist Havard Wiik for an eclectic presentation that redefines the term and perhaps appropriate use of the word "organic" when discussing the avant gard approach to improvisational music. Aves is built around the manipulation of rhythmic nuances from Houle combined with a free modal approach from pianist Wiik.

In reviewing some of the accompanying press information in regards to Aves, I noticed a contemporary referenced the performance of Wiik
as being the possible end result of how Brad Mehldau would sound if he were a considerably freer thinker. This arbitrary piece of conjecture was amusing as most artists will tell you they are as creative as they feel the need and the concept of free thinking is not one of a uniform constant but instead subject to the scope and direction of the project at hand. Wiik provides the perfect counterpoint to the melodic framework that clarinetist Houle lays down be it with the more straight ahead technical proficiency one might come to expect or with an extended trick bag of wind oriented pyrotechnics unique to the instrument. Some of these more organic techniques used with a zen like proficiency of less is more include slap tonguing, flutter tonguing and playing without a mouthpiece. If Jimi Hendrix would have picked up a clarinet, this might be an example of the sonic possibilities explored with what has become the Rodney Dangerfield of jazz instruments up until perhaps the last five years.

Aves is free jazz taken in a new direction. Smoldering undercurrents of texture, tone and timbre bubble just below the surface of a melancholy, moody and mysterious melodic masterpiece.

Free your mind.

4 Stars

Tracks: Father Demo; Sparrowhawk; Earth/Sea; Nomenclatural; Zirma; Fallen Angel; Ged's Shadow; Letter To Gyorgy L.; Aporetic Dreams; Meeting On A Line; Ursula's Dream; Woodhoopoe; Hello Blackbird; Strobe.

Personnel: Francois Houle: Clarinet; Havard Wiik: Piano