Dominique Pifarély Quartet ‘Tracé Provisoire’ (ECM) 3/5

dominique-pifarély-quartetAs much contemporary improvisational music as strictly jazz, French violinist Dominique Pifarély has been a regular contributor to the ECM label, particularly in collaborative projects with fellow French musician and multi-reedist, Louis Sclavis as evidenced on ‘Les violences de Rameau’. Indeed the two combined well on a 1993 album for the label, ‘Acoustic Quartet’, and in some respects the new recording can be seen as an extensive of that project and sound. The line-up of pianist Antonin Rayon, double bassist Bruno Chevillon and drummer François Merville recorded this all original composition album in the south of France and it has a strong improvised French feel throughout that may alienate some who prefer their music on the melodic side. External influences hint at African music on the fascinating ‘Le people efface I’ where Pifarély plucks the violin more like an African stringed instrument and there is the interesting use of a spread out bass line combined with piano. Quite possibly, this might prove to be a more accessible line to pursue in future and one that would probably gain them a wider audience beyond contemporary improvised music devotees. The influences of Pierre Boulez and the Ensemble Inter-Contemporain weigh heavily on this recording and may be at first somewhat off-putting to those not already conversant in that musical style, and it would definitely help the listener to have at least some knowledge of post World War Two classical music developments in order to fully appreciate the music contained within.

Tim Stenhouse