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                Nicolas Moreaux

 A text by Guilhem FLOUZAT


Whistling is for lovers, birds and children, the nimble expression of a certain completeness we tend to lose as we grow older. Before he learned any of the conservatory instruments, Nicolas Moreaux whistled for 15 years, keeping music away from judgment and technique, nestled against the purity of childhood. He then chose the least soloist of instruments, better to listen to the voice of others. He came upon the difficult path of jazz looking for depth and intensity, always curious of less sophisticated tradi- tions, his heart still full of wonder.


When the time came to record this new album, his second after "Beatnick" in 2009, he first thought of the musicians who share his uncompromising and wide open love for music. It takes wisdom to preserve one's sense of wonder, it comes therefore as no surprise that we find here the busiest musicians of the French and European jazz scene. The sound engineer (and drummer) André Charlier is himself a model of versatility and generosity. Two drummers, two guitarists, two saxophone players, more doublets than single instrumentists: no room for egos here. Nicolas Moreaux' compositions spring from a very intuitive writing process that accepts simplicity and imperfection as the surest way to shared emotions.


The arranging of the tunes has been purposedly left to the musicians, leading them to an incredible level of empathy and communion, showcased in "The Way To Reikjavik"'s last head where choral sections and counterpoint alternate with a miraculous sense of balance. The soloists side by side, Bill Mc Henry and Christophe Panzani on "Far" or David Doruzka and Pierre Perchaud on "Baroc" seem like friends strolling, talking and listening with the same delight, to the point where it becomes difficult for the listener to differentiate them. The unmistakable alto sound of Olivier Bogé sings on "Guatemala" and "The Way To Reikjavik" with a vulnerable lyricism that never overshadows the band's sound.


The pieces are often underlined with a residual sheet of sound, like the silence in the forest is unseparable from the sound of the river close by. It's the little bells tingling on "Guatemala", the delicate saxophone interjections on "Cool Water", the chorus casting an unreal glow on Tigran Hamasyan's solo on "Oak". On the title track, the most atmospheric of the album, the difference between foreground and background becomes blurry. Sketches of melodies and rhythmical ges- tures escape the sonic mass before being engulfed by it once again, individual voices dis- solve in the beautiful and ominous evocation of a faraway landscape. It is not by chance that the album got its name from this spontaneous group composition.


"Fall Somewhere" expresses the letting go, the yelding to the inspiration of the moment, the trust in oneself and each other that allows music to find its path organically, like flowing water. This record has many sources of influence: jazz, rock, free improvisation, each embraced with the intensity and completeness of a child playing. It carries the presence of  Paul Motian, a mentor for Bill McHenry dead on the eve of the session, but also that of friendship and family ties: Nico- las' 95 year old violonist grandmother, Cécile, and his niece whose dreamy expression ornates the album cover. The record is now an open hand for the listener to seize. ❧

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