In the next step of his evolution as a pioneering jazz figure, French trumpeter Erik Truffaz continues his exploration of modern dance rhythms informed by drum ‘n’ bass and hip hop as well as gripping rock ‘n’ roll with his quartet on The Walk of the Giant Turtle. This CD is Truffaz’s fourth U.S. release, following up last year’s remarkable Mantis, and featuring a video on the making of the album. Joining Truffaz on the new disc are his long-time quartet, Patrick Muller on piano and electronic keyboards, Marcello Giuliani on bass and Marc Erbetta on drums.
In a European interview Truffaz said that The Walk of the Giant Turtle (recorded in Lausanne in January 2003 and mixed in Paris) was based on ensemble improvisation. He remarked that the music “is not too cerebral.” He explained that the rock-fueled passion and power on three tracks (the heavy rocking, abrasive “King B,” the wah-wah-driven “Next Door” and the crunching/ cooking “Seven Skies”) came from two sources. First, Giuliani is the guitarist in a rock group named Aquarius. Secondly, Truffaz said that he came of age as a rock fan: “I listened to Led Zeppelin much more than Miles Davis [when I was younger].” The tunes teem with pockets of tension/release, rich sound textures, distortion and even Hendrixian guitar-like exchanges. Throughout, Truffaz soars above the combustible mix.
The Walk of the Giant Turtle features Truffaz and company delivering fluid groove tunes like the lead-off “Scody (Part 1)” and “Scody (Part 2).” Also in the mix are lyrical beauties such as the slow-and-stretched “Turiddu” with seductive bass line and Rhodes atmosphere, the coolly alluring “Belle De Nuit,” and the captivating title tune that is at once delicate and spiritual with a gently sketched trumpet melody and Ravel-like piano counterpoint.