St. Germain and Erik Trufazz

Tourist, and The Mask (Blue Note)

Record Reviews

St. Germain

Tourist (Blue Note)

Erik Trufazz

The Mask (Blue Note)

What makes these two Paris-based "acid jazz" albums among the most well-received releases of 2000 is the extraordinary way they use up-to-the-minute grooves and classic reggae riddems, along with more traditional jazz sensibilities, to birth a colorful pastiche of blindingly hip musical derivations. St. Germain, the moniker used by chameleon-like house/electronica producer Ludovic Navarre for this project, is particularly adventurous as he samples, loops, splices, and dices his way across the musical terrain, mixing roots with modernity. Funk, Latin, reggae, and hip-hop beats suffuse throughout the album, often oozing in and out of tunes as if to catch the listener off-guard. "Rose Rouge" opens the set with its looped piano and drums refrain, reminiscent of Brubeck & Desmond's beloved "Take Five." Sounds an awful lot like a hip-hop version of the Jazz Crusaders from their "Scratch" days. "Land Of" bounces along until, before you know it, you're skanking to a "Familyman" Barrett bassline copped from a Burning Spear anthem. In a guest appearance, Jamaican guitar king Ernest Ranglin picks out a tasty tune that downyard might be akin to hearing George Benson in Dub. There's even a smidgen of Delta blues guitar that whiffs through the hypnotic piano comping on "Sure Thing." Every track is a delightful and sometimes surreal melange of aural surprises. A tad more straight-ahead, French trumpeter Erik Trufazz and his quartet make their American debut here with a terrific collection of original tunes culled from three European releases they recorded for Blue Note since 1997. Their atmospheric sound is heavily indebted to early electric Miles Davis, replete with lazer-point muted trumpet and the requisite Fender Rhodes piano vamps and wah-wahs. The fulcrum, however, is drummer Marc Erbetta's def(t) use of drum and bass and hip-hop beats, which transforms the set from a mere homage to a declarative statement of hipness. Imagine In A Silent Way done up junglist style. Tres cool!

(Both) ****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Ghostland Observatory
See You Later, Simulator (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Sept. 7, 2018

Texas Platters
Thousand Foot Whale Claw
Black Hole Party (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, July 27, 2018

More by Jay Trachtenberg
Review: <i>Lake Success</i>
Review: Lake Success
Gary Shteyngart's novel takes a witty bite out of the 0.01%

Sept. 13, 2018

<i>Presidio</i> by Randy Kennedy
Presidio by Randy Kennedy
For his debut novel, Kennedy creates a road story that portrays the harsh West Texas terrain beautifully and fills it with sympathetic characters.

Sept. 14, 2018

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle