Pierre Diaz/Trio Zéphyr: Jours de vent (RJAL 397009)

Cover

Pierre Diaz
Trio Zéphyr
Jours de vent

Pierre Diaz soprano saxophone
Trio Zéphyr
Delphine Chomel violin, vocal
Marion Diaques viola, vocal
Claire Menguy cello
Recorded on September 4/5, 2008 and November 5/6, 2009
Mixed on May 28, 2010
Recorded and mixed by Gérard de Haro at Studios La Buissonne
Mastered by Nicolas Baillard at Studios La Buissonne
Produced by Marc Thouvenot, Gérard de Haro and RJAL for La Buissonne
Release date: December 2, 2010

Pierre Diaz and Trio Zéphyr join forces as Jours De Vent in this congregation of soprano saxophone, strings, and voices. To start us on our journey, Diaz cradles his soprano in a swell of violin, viola, and cello in the pastures of “Le Lendermain Matin.” As the first of a handful of compositions by Trio Zéphyr, it opens our ears to a distinctly visual world. Other Zéphyr pieces fade into faraway climates. Whether in the arid modalism of “Au Coeur Du Dromadaire” or traveling along the locomotive tracks of “Como Lobos” (a highlight for its changing colors), their sense of movement is always purposeful and technically sound.

Diaz’s music is attuned to a darker past. Each of his contributions, but especially “Se Acaba Mi Soledad,” upholds the forgotten victims of the Spanish Civil War as a lens of refraction through which to view our own complicity in collective amnesia. As a quartet, he and the trio peel back even more layers to that tragic history in their collaborative writing. The mournful drawl of “Hasta La Luvia” and microscopic details of “…Je M’envolais” give us plenty to ponder, while the lilting “Agua Linda” pulls us from a spiral of despair into brighter days.

The only aspect of this program that pulls me from its spell is the singing. Though at its gentlest it is a lullaby, when emotions run high, as in the mounting tensions of Diaz’s “Abuela,” it loses focus and, despite its passionate delivery, feels derivative of a certain Orientalist vision of the East. Voices do, however, play an important role as archival beacons in “Erisa” and “Brume,” and the trio’s own do achieve an understated balance of the corporeal and the spiritual in “J’ai Rêvé Que…”

Then again, sometimes aesthetics should not concern us when crying out for salvation against the horrifying backdrops we humans create. All the more reason, perhaps, to throw buckets of honest reflection over those images until their evils become transparent.

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