Words by Tim Woodall
The third album from veteran Breton violinist Jacky Molard and his instrumental quartet furthers Molard’s ongoing mission of crossing musical boundaries. His 2010 album N’Diale with the Foune Diarra Trio was a straight-ahead fusion, while his 2007 album Acoustic Quartet was a bubbling mix of Celtic music, jazz and Balkan influences. The new record’s multi-track suites explore music from different cultures. The flexibility of the instrumentation here – Molard’s own violin, Yannick Jory’s soprano and alto saxophones, double bass from Hélène Labarrière and accordion from Janick Martin – and the ability of these musicians to shape-shift between styles, means the album strays far and wide. Two tracks of minimalist, sometimes atonal, Celtic-flavoured jazz that together make up a suite titled ‘Onorique’, are sandwiched between a beguiling four-part hymn to the Hebrides, and the Balkans-centred ‘Impair’, at the heart of which is a pair of scratchy, wild and fragrant Bulgarian dances. Uniting the suites is the quartet’s own particular sound-world: a benevolent cacophony stemming from group improvisation and a tendency to push at the borders of tonality. The natural liveliness of traditional Breton music is ever present too, with the bounce of Molard’s violin lines often mirrored by Martin’s accordion. Overall, this is an intriguing, immersive listen.