Malian singer Rokia Traoré opens the latest album by trumpet virtuoso Erik Truffaz. They both introduce “Doni Doni” with a folklore miniature called “Comptine” before the full quartet sets in with thick electric keyboards on “Kudu”, a track that is both Weather Report and modern jazz dance groove, the type of which he more or less made to his trademark with his hip hop and drum and bass-heavy Blue Note album “The Dawn” (1998).
Rokia is featured on three more tracks, like the midtempo and bluesy “Djiki’n” which still has an irresistible groove. I still have some problems though with the extreme vibrato in Rokia’s voice. It almost sounds unnatural at times. On the title track, which comes in two parts, the first one where Rokia is featured, doesn’t really start rolling. And on “Seydou”, the combination of her voice and a more folkloristic backing works much better. Still, her voice remains a tool I really have to get used to.
But there are the instrumentals as well, like the midtempo groove on “Pacheco” which starts out mystically and then has a lot of jazzy keys during the middle section, but somehow not really exploits that seamless groove – it gets stale after a while. And “Szerelem” is a church-like hymn which turns out to be a fair-enough ballad. Things get rocky and overdriven on “Fat City” which works with eccentric modulations and reverb.
My favorite here is the second, longer, instrumental part of the title track where the best of the world music, electronic, and jazz worlds is fused together as a coherent hybrid and Erik’s trumpet playing is the most lyrical on this one. There are parts of electric Miles here as well. I don’t like rap so “Le Complément Du Verbe” featuring Oxmo Puccino isn’t really for me, even though the groove is pretty cool again here.
The Erik Truffaz Quartet is on tour:
02/20 Zurich – Moods
02/21 Bern – Bee Flat
02/24 Oslo – Nasjonal Jazzscene
02/25 Stockholm – Fasching
02/26 Salzburg – Jazzit
02/27 Munich- Unterfahrt
02/28 Freiburg – Jazzhaus
02/29 Karlsruhe – Tollhaus
03/01 Dortmund – Domicil
03/02 Berlin – Grüner Salon
03/04 Dresden – Tonne
03/05 Kassel- Schlachthof
03/16 Groningen – Grand Theatre Up
03/17 Rotterdam – Lantaren Venster
03/21 London – Ronnie Scott’s
03/22 London – Ronnie Scott’s
The tour continues in France, Switzerland and Hungary until June.