May 18, 2024

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CD review: Henri Texier – Chance 2020: Video, CD cover

Henri Texier, double bass player, multi-instrumentalist traces his path, record after record since 1967. The more the years pass, the more the importance and the originality of Henri Texier impose themselves on all the musicians, fellow travelers, or not.

A wonderful combination of a great tradition of double bass and a modernism that has never been frightened of anything. Time passing seems to have no hold on his game: round, powerful and above all animated by an extraordinary awareness of rhythm. A high-flying cast and a sequence of scenes and landscapes that give the listener the certainty of a global scenario.

When pianist and composer Jef Gilson recommended his student Henri Texier to switch from piano to double bass 60 years ago, this was the cornerstone of a fantastic career. Texier became the ubiquitous stage guest of the Parisian jazz scene within a few years. At the age of 20 he accompanied appearances by Johnny Griffin and Bud Powell and made a name for himself in Europe as well as in the United States.

When he received the Django Reihardt Prix in 1977, Henri Texier was just 32 years old. But even beyond this price, it was known in the world of jazz that the young Parisian is an extraordinary double bass player.

Henri Texier is now 75 years old, but he is by no means tired. He proved this again by producing a very special work for his 60th jazz anniversary. “Chance” is the title of Texier’s 38th album. In eight pieces he reviews his previous creative phase and sincerely thanks loyal souls, fans and people who accompanied him on his way.

Henri Texier dances, swings and hops through the history of jazz and his personal musical biography for over an hour. He is sometimes leisurely and relaxing as in the song ‘Simone et Robert – pour Simone Veil et Robert Badinter’ or sometimes spurring and brisk as in the opening piece ‘Cinecitta’. The dance leg is also claimed for “chance”, as the dynamic number ‘Pina B. – pour Pina Bausch’ proves. What is refreshing is the variety with which the individual pieces differ from one another and thus set individual sections in Texier’s career to music.

But in one element all pieces belong together. Henri Texier’s virtuoso bass playing is always the fundamental hanger of every song. The double bass is always clearly audible and forms a solid unit of rhythm and melody instrument. It goes without saying that Henri Texier does not miss the occasional step into the foreground and putting a nimble solo on the fingerboard. The arrangements that are built around the centered double bass are again very versatile.

In addition to warm and happy sounds, the album is not afraid of the melancholy mood like in the piece ‘Laniakea’. Progressive or at least atypical elements are not missing either. The album also occasionally contains elements such as a slightly distorted, almost rocking guitar or borrowings from other musical styles such as country, Americana or oriental music. And of course one or two jazz classics should not be missing. Well-known standards are skillfully incorporated into the structure of the pieces on “Chance” and float in the room like a declaration of love for jazz.

The latter is the son of Henri Texier. Together, the quintet puts an extremely pleasant and varied jazz part on the floor. The biographical character does not always result in a direct transition or connection between the pieces. Nevertheless, almost all songs are very convincing and even weaker pieces like ‘Le même fleuve’ are not failures.

1 Cinecitta 6:54
2 Jungle Jig 8:28
3 Simone Et Robert 6:16
4 Pina B. 7:02
5 Laniakea 8:23
6 Le Même Fleuve 8:33
7 Standing Horse 1:53
8 Chance 6:50

Henri Texier, double bass
Sébastien Texier, saxophone, clarinet
Vincent Lê Quang, tenor saxophone
Manu Codjia, guitar
Gautier Garrigue, drums

Henri Texier - Chance (2020, CD) | Discogs

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