Andy Emler/François Thuillier: Tubafest (RJAL HS001)


Andy Emler
François Thuillier

Andy Emler compositions
The “Cactus” Quartet
Théo Ceccaldi
Anne le Pape violin
Séverine Morfin viola
Valentin Ceccaldi violoncello
Duo Fact
Anthony Caillet
François Thuillier tuba
Evolutiv Brass
Anthony Caillet
Gilles Mercier trumpet
Nicolas Vallade trombone
François Thuillier tuba
Recorded live at Le Triton, Les Lilas on October 24/25, 2014 by Gérard de Haro et Jacques Vivante
Mixed and mastered at Studios La Buissonne by Gérard de Haro at Studios La Buissonne, Pernes-les-Fontaines
Mastering: Nicolas Baillard at Studios La Buissonne
Produced by Andy Emler and François Thuillier
Release date: March 1, 2015

Unlike strings, which tend to feel darker and more brooding the deeper they become, there’s something lively and invigorating about brass at its lowest registers. This is certainly true of tuba virtuoso François Thuillier, whose prodigious talents have graced some of La Buissonne’s finest recordings under its own label. After playing the role of bassist in Amly Emler’s outfits for years, Emler decided to put together some new pieces and performances in late October of 2014 as a way of throwing the spotlight on Thuillier and his métier. Thus, “Tubafest” was born, of which three of the five compositions on the program are presented for our enjoyment.

“Tubastone 12023” is the result of an offhanded remark by Thuillier, who once expressed a desire to play with a string quartet. Emler happily obliged by producing this piece for that very combination of instruments. After the strings prime a verdant canvas, the tuba plants its feet firmly to unravel a patient song. With whistles of appreciation (and even a “Yeah, baby” for encouragement), the quintet handles exuberant changes of scenery without skipping a beat. Over the course nearly 22 minutes, they tell the story of something at once urban and rural, an emotional transference of proportions that speak not only to the heart but also the mind.

Emler’s frameworks always leave plenty of room for improvisation, but especially in “Art et Fact 1.” This duet between Thuillier on tuba and Anthony Caillet on euphonium grooves with the energy of a band four times their number, and finds both playing their hearts out throughout this joyful segue into “Un Printemps dans l’assiette.” Here Thuillier and Caillet are joined by trumpeter Gilles Mercier and trombonist Nicolas Vallade. The mood is altogether whimsical yet rigorous, showcasing the musicians’ freedom of expression and the rock-solid foundations of their craft, as well as the fullness of Thuillier’s narrative power. It ends with kisses, as if bidding us farewell.

Each world Emler creates can be counted on for being vivaciously resolute, but in this case he has written for a soloist who understands that inner drive in a most focused way. A dose of joy when we need it most.

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