June 19, 2024

ERIC CHENAUX TRIO – ‘Delights Of My Life’ – “hot, damp and dreamy, a woozy day”

CONSTELLATION / MURAILLES MUSIC                31st May 2024

So many of these notes sound off, bending and weird. Yet they are exactly right. And they often sound like a wasp trapped under a glass but that just makes me thing of John McLaughlin with Miles Davis in the seventies. And that brings us to jazz; this is jazz, a playful bending and poking at a song, just enough to bend and poke the listener’s brain into a different frame of reference. Here, the viewpoint is a hazy summer, hot, damp and dreamy, a woozy day to drift and dream away.

I’ve been lucky enough to hear Eric Chenaux play live and solo and his guitar is definitely enough and just perfect alone. However, the addition of keys and drums makes this more definably jazz, with the Wurlitzer chords and draggy drums conjuring up the classic sounds of a trio. Eric is freed from conjuring up time with delay effects and the percussion – sampled, generated and also weird – lets Chenaux focus on vocals and melody. The trio members add to Eric’s vocals in places, singing Ryan Driver’s lyrics, gently adrift. Talking about Philippe Melanson’s drums, Cheanux references Duke Ellington’s ‘Sonnet For Sister Kate’ from his classic ‘Such Sweet Thunder’ suite, a complex, dark and internally swinging piece of music. Chenaux’s ear is immersed in the right sort of stuff but what comes out of his fingers is influenced in only the most peripheral way, making something that, to go back to Ellington’s Shakespearean suite, is “a sea-change into something rich and strange.”, something so perfectly sui-generis and of-itself that it can only be right.

Chenaux charmingly says, “I like to make music that continues in such a way that one does not feel the pressure to listen all the time, that does not petition for your attention but welcomes it, and if you drift out and think about whatever it is one can think about in this day and age, when you come back, well it is there, and you have not necessarily missed anything that will hinder your re-engagement: a fidelity to duration in an unearthly sense.” That said, this is music you can focus on and it will makes you smile with delight and pin the attention to the motion of the passing moment. Guitar solos, like the one in ‘Simply Fly’ are so delightfully themselves that they will rivet your attention if it has drifted, likewise so many other sections – Mr Chenaux is too modest, I think. Or you can let yourself consciously move into a dreamy state. Either way, this invites many, many listens.

Improvisation is the practice of indifference.
An indifference to intention, to our illusory feelings.
Listening and forgetting.
To what we think we know.
– Eric Chenaux

 

Some previous album reviews:

Eric Chenaux – ‘Say Laura’ – “focusing the ears into a light and spiritually free space”

ERIC CHENAUX – “SLOWLY PARADISE”: Jazzy and distinctive

 

and we were lucky enough to catch a tiny and personal gig in Bradford in 2018:

Eric Chenaux – Paradise passed by in a dream – Live in Bradford

 

 

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