Erik Truffaz – The Mask
(Blue Note – 2000)
by Raymond Redmond
Erik Truffaz, a French trumpet player, was introduced to the general public in 1998 as a major European jazz artist thanks to The Dawn, a groovin’ mix of jazz, Drum’n’Bass and hip-hop. This album met with critical acclaim and commercial success all over Europe, as one of the most innovative album of the 90’s. Jazz fans as well as DJs and fans of electronic and dance music took to Truffaz’s ground breaking musical approach which blends his muted trumpet stylings with elements of jazz, down-tempo groove, hip hop and drum & bass.
The first tune, Sweet Mercy begins with a strong, rhythmic bassline with stark percussive background, in comes the guitar riff and the horn and you instantly think MILES DAVIS! That is the best description I can give you of this release… think Miles Davis, around the time he made Bitches Brew.
The Dawn is the free-wheeling percussive-intensive title piece from Truffaz’s first release. Bending New Corners, the title track from his soon-to-be-released CD, uses a lot of synthesizer licks and old-style riffs. This is probably my favorite. Truffaz has a way of taming the busy-ness of the rhythm with the fluidity and emotion of the horn. Overall The Mask brings some of this rhythmic/avant-garde artist’s best to an american audience that may not have heard of Erik Truffaz… I hadn’t. You should.