Louis Sclavis

Napoli's Walls

ECM

While ECM and the promotion of this new album seems to be celebrating Louis Scalvis’s 50th Birthday I’ll take the opprtunity to say something else. First of all Sclavis is a forever young artist and his own career does not really need such anniversaries. As a band leader it’s very obvious that he has always been a searcher as much as a digger. I do have a lot of respect
for the human being he is, for his fidelity with others, his perspicacity and desire to permanently improve any of his projects. In many ways Sclavis is also a sort of inventor of what has emerged in the 80’s as a new European jazz attitude and whether one should be happy or not of the following results remains a question. But on the other side and concerning »Napoli’s Walls« his new group and debut record I have quite mixed feelings. Should we say it’s been presented for the first time as Sclavis and the youngsters? »Napoli’s Walls« is a quartet made of cellist Vincent Courtois, here really at the top, Danish guitarist Hasse Poulsen linking the group with various modes of playing, and Mederic Collignon, a multi instrumentist jumping from trumpet to electronics, scat to groovy beats in a way that makes you wonder what to hear in him, a great talent often shadowed by clichées or jokes. Altogether a very balanced group, a very well designed music but maybe a too obvious concept?