Sebastien Texier Trio ‘Don’t Forget You’re An Animal’ (Cristal) 4/5

Multi-reedist Sebastien Texier comes from an impeccable French jazz family background, being the son of bassist Henri and this excellent trio outing will do a great deal to enhance the standing of the former as a leader in his own right. In fact the ambience is very much that of the now defunct Label Bleu label out of France and there is sparse intimacy to proceedings that is not dissimilar to Steve Lacy, or even the classic Sonny Rollins mid-50s recordings while other influences would probably include Eric Dolphy and Jan Garbarek. The all-original compositions are at once melodic and challenging and Texier alternates between clarinet on lyrical pieces such as ‘Lilian tears’, bass clarinet on freer improvisations such as on the bizarrely titled ‘Pain de singe’ (literally ‘monkey’s bread’) and more conventional soprano saxophone on some of the other pieces. A quasi-oriental feel permeates ‘Hyena’s night’ that picks up in tempo part way through and with plenty of gusto in the reed solo. Father Henri guests on three tracks, though regular trio bassist Claude Tchamitchian impresses, particularly on the co-written composition ‘Tango’. Evocative clarinet playing on ‘Yellow cab experience’ wonderfully conveys the urgency of a taxi ride in the Big Apple. A beautiful clarity of sound on the recording simply adds to the pleasurable listening experience. Now approaching his fortieth year, Sebastien Texier is definitely a musician to watch out for in the future.

Tim Stenhouse