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//catalogue  //Malcolm Braff Trio
artist: Malcolm Braff Trio
album: Yele
reference: UTR 4171
release date: 31.03.2006
running time: 66:26
line-up: Malcolm Braff âEUR" Piano
Yaya Ouattara âEUR" Djembé, Bara
Alex Blake âEUR" Bass
credits: Tracks 1,2,4,6 recorded Live in December 2000 and mixed by Philippe Zunbrunn
Tracks 3,5 Piano Solo recorded at Studio du Flon and mixed by Benoît Corboz
liner notes: In harmony with the rhythms of existence
Much has been philosophized and speculated about the technical limits of reproducing jazz, this music that is so strongly committed to hunting moments of fulfilment. These limits are revealed very clearly with a number of artists: the masters of ecstasy, enthusiasm and boundlessness. One of them is the pianist Malcolm Braff from Vevey. BraffâEURTMs favourite hunting-ground is the stage. His performances are like dramas in four acts. The first act is all about winning the hearts of the audience, which is generally done in the twinkling of an eye. The second act consists of, step by step, stirring up enthusiasm, thereby opening up undreamt-of dimensions. The third act combines ecstasy and catharsisâEUR¦ fourth act: the calm after the storm. Overwhelmed and shaken up, listeners find themselves in turmoil. They experience what the German writer Hanns-Josef Ortheil, in an essay on Mozart, called «this fully declaimed joie de vivre and this enthusiastic rage, this harmony with otherwise hidden, deep-rooted rhythms of existence».
After recording two albums with the impressive BraffOesterRohrer mini orchestra (including «Maximal Music» on Unit Records), the pianist now presents his own trio on the live-recording that has just come out. His new band includes djembé master Yaya Ouattara from Burkina Faso, who already played in BraffâEURTMs COMBO, as well as American double bass player Alex Blake. The three musicians have in common their ability to go beyond the limits of their instruments: BlakeâEURTMs bass becomes an archaic drum in some passages, whereas Braffs piano turns into a hymnal choir. Braff calls playing music «a privileged means of experiencing that youâEURTMre one with the world, wrapped up in the moment».
Despite its elemental energy and daring insistence, BraffâEURTMs music is far from being a natural wonder. On the contrary! His music is characterised by a great exploratory urge driven by analytical curiosity. In this context, it is certainly not wrong to draw a parallel between Braff and John Coltrane, who, in an almost paradigmatic manner, showed that ecstasy and systematic structures can be two sides of the same coin. While Coltrane mainly searched in the field of harmony, Braff prefers focusing on rhythm. One might be lead to think that his interest in rhythm is due to the fact that Braff, who was born in 1970 in Brazil, spent a great part of his childhood (from 1973 to 1982) in Africa (Cape Verde and Senegal). But waving this argument aside, Braff says: «I donâEURTMt know African music, and in my opinion, it is only accessible to the initiated anyway. I can say that African music gives me ideas, and thatâEURTMs all. My ideas are based on many indirect influences. I donâEURTMt want to be a preacher passing on a tradition; I donâEURTMt even have a self-contained tradition. However, what I want to pass on is an attitude that leaves plenty of room for research and experiment».
links: www.malcolmbraff.com
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