Rémi Dumoulin / Bruno Ruder / Arnaud Biscay ‘Das Rainer Trio’ (Neuklang) 3/5

Das Rainer Trio consists of well-travelled French jazz amis Rémi Dumoulin (sax, Orchestre National De Jazz), Bruno Ruder (keyboards, Magma) and Arnaud Biscay (percussion, Bibi Tanga). Dumoulin and Ruder previously recorded together with the American drummer, Billy Hart, on 2017’s release “Gravitational Waves”, on which the track “Reiner Werner Fassbinder” first appeared; it’s on Das Rainer Trio too. Here’s hoping for a bit of audio New Wave/melodrama then.

A gentle Clangers intro reveals a galaxy for Dumoulin’s elegant, breathy, lyrical sax to float in on the opener, “Get Down on Your Knees”. Biscay shuffles and fills and Ruder brings fragrance as the romantic drama builds and sweetly releases. All very pretty apart from a minor electrical storm just after the fourth minute brings a bit of disruptive edge.

Not sure if the 6th Symphony of “A Single Melody from the 6th Symphony” is Beethoven’s or not, but there’s acres of pastoral space to relish. Biscay again slots into a supporting wash, while Ruder’s Rhodes drips and echoes and Dumoulin’s soulful voice sways and floats.

“Jack” is initially slightly trippy as Ruder takes the Rhodes out for a dreamy stroll before beckoning the lads over to get proper busy. Ruder lays down a heavy riff, Biscay burns and Dumoulin jives, chats and duals the riff. A highlight for me.

“Reiner Werner Fassbinder” is moodier than the preceding tracks and sounds like it could go off into a North African prog work out but then it’s mood lifts. Shame, I was quite fancying a bit of Nantucket Sleighride meets Fear Eats the Soul!

Another nod to film new wave comes via a cover of, the recently departed legend, Michel Legrand’s “Will Someone Ever Look at Me That Way”. It’s a perfectly lovely rendering, so suited to Dumoulin’s voice that it comes across as a lush, lively Strayhorn-esque ballad. Talking of Strayhorn, there’s another lovely rendering on here; Strayhorn’s “Chelsea Bridge”. It initially sits sweetly in the Henderson/Webster space but then the trio step up a gear for the last 4 minutes into a space that really suits them (and I’d love to hear more of); less reserved, more expansive with Biscay really bringing the batterie.

“Filature” spins round and round like a top and lets us enjoy Biscay give it some centrifugal force while final track “My Plan” is a bright morning cafe with a loved one, the broadsheets and an easy, no-specific-plans, walk by the Seine.

This album bounces between sweetly amorous and earnestly energetic. Dumoulin’s dulcet voice is truly lovely and there’s an occasional something-slightly-at-odds between Dumoulin and Ruder that I quite like too…but what I like most is when Biscay opens up, the trio click n rip and I’m cheering them to stay ‘on the one’ for a bit longer, riff a bit harder and maybe add a guitar and a trumpet. Y’know, a bit more of the melodrama and a bit less of the New Wave. That’s just me though and what I really hope is that they play together more so we get to hear how they expand what they’ve already started.

Ian Ward