Out of Silence brings the number of album releases by saxophonist Francois Carrier to about thirty-five, dating back to 1994. Of those, all but three feature Carrier's fellow Montreal resident Michel Lambert on drums, including every album since 2000, except one, which did not feature drums. The two have become so inseparable that a Carrier album without Lambert would now be a major shock. Of their albums together, a handful feature them as a duo, of which this is the latest. It comes a decade after their first duo release, Kathmandu (FMR), which was recorded at a jazz festival in the city of the title.
In complete contrast, Out of Silence was recorded in London, in June 2015, towards the end of the pair's annual summer tour of Europe. In common with other gigs on such tours, on the night in question there was not a huge audience, but that did not affect the quality of the music. As indicated by the album title, the music was completely improvised. The two immediately lock together as soon as they begin playing, perfectly complementing one another; such empathy is the result of years of playing together and cannot be acquired in a hurry. As with all successful sax-drums duos, there is an equal balance between the two here, with neither being dominant or consistently taking the lead.
Instead, there is a constant ebb and flow between Carrier and Lambert as they take it in turns to set the agenda. The end result is fluent improvisation that flows easily, sounding as natural as breathing. In contrast to everything else played that night, the closing track, "Happy to You", is an easily-recognized composition. The gig took place on June 4th, the eve of Carrier's own birthday on the 5th. To mark the occasion, he played an embellished five-minute version of "Happy Birthday" in which the familiar melody occasionally bubbled to the surface through his elaborate improvisations on it. It makes a stunning end to a first-rate album that is a joy to listen to.
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