Claude Tchamitchian Quintet
« Ways Out »
Claude Tchamitchian composition and double bass Daniel Erdmann saxophone Régis Huby violin Rémi Charmasson guitar Christophe Marguet drums
Some ten years ago, Claude Tchamitchian set up the group known as Ways Out, as a way of prolonging, developing and transforming the flashes of aesthetic inspiration and the various orchestral dynamics already in place and put to use in a certain short-lived Afro-American quartet, created in the early 2000’s, with Claude Tchamitchian, Mat Maneri, Herb Robertson and Christophe Marguet.
In this new group, all the sidemen are long-term friends, and all virtuoso musicians on their chosen instrument, but above all they are musicians with that rare talent of knowing exactly what it means to meld with a group so as to produce an authentic “group sound” (Regis Huby, intense, precise, constantly with the melody; Rémi Charmasson, creating ellipses, short cuts and sound projections; Christophe Marguet, working on the beat and tone colours) – the compositional projects of Ways Out clearly indicate a leaning towards what we might call “mobile forms”, with the accent on the timbres, as they play the hybrid card by mixing acoustic and electric sounds with a constant underlying rhythmic tension, whose energy and groove come as much from modern jazz as rock. The link between the sophisticated idiom of the most contemporary New York post-jazz in its relationship to space and the closeness of the group is the soaring lyricism of the 70’s-type prog-rock and the rich melodic lushness of its own universe, with its unerring blend of sensuality and abstraction. An ambitious project overall, where Claude Tchamitchian injects some dynamite into the instrumental groupings traditionally associated with the jazz quartet, so as to open up new horizons both for himself and the other members of the group.
Spontaneity is the name of the game, then, here, a spontaneity based on energy, playing with the restrictions of form so as to move off at a tangent all the more surprising, but which inevitably means venturing onto new territory with multiple idioms from various sources – the hybrid once again. Thus, by mixing tradition and imagination with unspoken poetry and superb freedom, Ways Out is one of the most stimulating small groups in current European jazz.