French culture is the theme of Hébert's trio recording. The New Orleans born, Cajun bassist invited the Paris-based pianist and Detroit's Cleaver (a city founded by French officer Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac) to record the follow-up to their inaugural release Spiritual Lover (Clean Feed, 2010). Floodstage continues their conversation, one delivered with distinctive enunciations.
Hébert, who can be heard as a sideman to a who's who of players including Mary Halvorson
's Trio. The conservatory- trained Delbecq can often be heard with clarinetist François Houle in a jazz setting. He has a strong connection to classical music, African-American jazz, and experimental musics.
"Cold Brew" opens the disc with a hauntingly painted moodiness that is eerily bolstered by electronic pulses that sound as if they were sampled from a 1970s sci-fi B-movie. Hébert's compositions, like "Tan Hands," are sketches for obliging, Keith Jarrett
. But where Jarrett might zig, Hébert zags. "Holy Trinity" layers a heaviness of pulse over the mathematical structure of the melody creating an understated blues feel. Choosing Delbecq, a classically- trained player with an ear for world music, Thelonious Monk
, and early-fusion jazz, and Cleaver, perhaps the most expressive drummer working today, the idea of a jazz trio is refocused as a mischievous chamber ensemble.
Delbecq's clavinet heard on solo on "Saints" and in trio on "Sinners," sounds like a xylophone. The latter piece is a circular exercise that incorporates African music into the African-American traditions of New Orleans. The same goes for the traditional song "Just A Closer Walk With Thee," played as a straight church blues, and the rumble-rolling of "On The Half Shell" that pairs Joe Zawinul