Where does he go to seek inspiration to catch us off guard every time with his falsely wacky approach? Fidel Fourneyron is a trombonist of superior skill, a member of the Umlaut Big Band and the Orchestre National de Jazz (ONJ), two recognized institutions of the French jazz scene. He, along with the trio Un Poco Loco, already favored us with a delightful Feelin’ Pretty, based on the songs from West Side Story. He is continuing his unique career with Animal, an innovative “hundred-handed trio”, so to speak, with Joachim Florent (bass) and Sylvain Darrifourcq (drums).
Fidel Fourneyron has written eight songs which highlight each animal’s essence, from the monkey to the wolf by way of the rooster, the ant, the cat, the whale, the mouse, and the bison, and it’s anything but boring. His bestiary in no way resembles the soundtrack of an animal documentary; above all, it’s a base for a collective improvisation confined within a loosely contained form. Here, there is groove, implicit melodies, unbridled imagination, breaks in rhythm, and music-style clatter for the listener to remain frozen in a figurative painting or, conversely, lost in pure abstraction. The virtue of this opus is that it gives meaning to sounds without ever descending into far-fetched, empty gimmicks. For my neurotic bestiary, I’m holding on to the oceanic depths where “La Baleine” frolics and the impromptu accelerations of “La Souris” rush madly. What about you?
Fidel Fourneyron, Animal (ONJ Records)
01/09/2018, Sant’anna Arresi Jazz Festival, Sant’anna, Italie
02/09/2018, Umlaut Big Band, Jazz à la Villette, Paris