Erik Truffaz breathes new life into jazz in Brussels

Last year, Swiss jazz trumpeter Erik Truffaz released the album “Clap”, the second and final part of the diptych “Rollin” and “Clap”. The album was very well received by both critics and the public and was high on the list of the best albums of 2023 for many. Erik Truffaz performed on Saturday, January 27, together with his quartet made an appearance in a not completely sold out, but still very well-filled Orangerie in the Brussels Botanique.

Truffaz had a very, very good quartet with him, consisting of musicians who also played on “Clap”. The Brussels audience was especially fortunate to see pianist Alexis Anérilles on stage. The man is a phenomenon in himself, and in addition to being a pianist, he is also a very gifted trumpeter himself. We might know him from the Sophie Hunger band, but he also plays with French stars such as Etienne Daho and Joseph d’Anvers. At the Botanique, Alexis played his Fender Rhodes, which he ran through an impressive battalion of effects pedals that he had idiosyncratically placed on a wooden board on top of his Rhodes. In addition to Truffaz’s trumpet, this determined the sound of the concert. The Rhodes was demolished, deformed, pulled through the echo and I don’t know what else. Anérilles was not only a pleasure to hear play, but also to see play. Spectacular. The whole band played fantastically well and was played like a toreador by Truffaz, who was delighted. It is also inevitable that drummer Raphael Chassin should be put in the spotlight because he turned out to be able to breathe new life into the now completely exhausted concept of a drum solo and play an exciting and interesting one in the Orangerie. Besides him, I have only heard Roni Kaspi do that in recent years. Bravo.

Truffaz, like so many other music lovers, was captivated by the magic of Miles Davis’ music at the age of sixteen. With Truffaz, more specifically, it was “Kind of Blue” who planted the Miles virus in him for the rest of his life. Since then we have been able to recognize the colour, embouchure and timing of the old master in Truffaz’s music. Truffaz simply sounds a lot like Miles Davis, and that is a boon for contemporary jazz. Just like Davis, Truffaz is a chameleon, who feels just as at home in classic jazz pieces such as Miles’ masterpiece “Ascenseur pour l’échafaud” as in contemporary movements in which rock, funk, hip-hop are mixed into a wonderful concoction that we have come to understand. know as Truffaz.

As mentioned, the band played at the top of its game. Truffaz initially seemed more concerned about whether he wanted to play barefoot or with shoes on. Finally, he put his shoes back on. “Thème de Fantômas” was one of those pieces that gave the pianist a lot of space to showcase his magical skills. The thin trumpet sounds of Truffaz, floating above the manipulated Fender Rhodes, are at times reminiscent of Miles’ music at the time of ‘Aura’.

There were relatively many pieces from “Rollin” in which Truffaz gives his interpretation of the film music he knows from his youth. “Persuaders Theme” is such a beautiful piece that Truffaz has completely mastered. Propelled by a surf guitar, the trumpet blew the notes that evoke images of Jean Gabin in a raincoat in the eighteenth arrondissement in Paris. Erik Truffaz played the perfect symbiosis between the lost times of jazz that are behind us and he embraces the modern sounds of today. Not afraid to experiment, and a master at citing his great example. This Truffaz concert was one you will not soon forget.

Photo’s (c) Jan Vranken

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