Sylvaine Hélary flute, alto flute, bass flute, piccolo
Hugues Mayot tenor saxophone, clarinet
Antonin Rayon piano, Moog
Sylvain Lemetre vibes, percussions
Kris Davis piano (on 3 and 4)
It’s not the first time that contemporary classical music and jazz cross paths in a single project and it won’t be the last, but this “Episodes” come with a singular condition: it’s not something created under the umbrella of what we call Third Stream, that attempt to turn big band jazz a symphonic music, and it has very little of the mathematical properties of Anthony Braxton, even considering that the last piece, “Laggo”, pays tribute to the tri-centric maestro and to Karlheinz Stockhausen. Spring Roll, the ensemble lead by French flutist Sylvaine Hélary, has a timbral and theatrical perspective of chamber music born from the flute conceptions developed by 20th century composers like Debussy and Varese. And it also has an ambicious program of action: to improvise as if composing, and to compose as if improvising, here and there applying aspects taken from the traditional Asian musical cultures. They’re «explorers in an unknown territory», as we read in the liner notes signed by Arnaud Merlin. Hélary herself and pianist Antonin Rayon are the ensemble composers, but for this opus they invited three extra contributors: from Canada, Kris Davis (who also plays piano in two tracks), and from the United States, Matt Mitchell and Dan Blake. The combination of these authorships go from extreme minimalism to epic blasts, the resulting interpretations seeming to re-invent this particular kind of fusion music. In one word: precious.