He has a golden touch with pure tone and is one of those musicians who gets a point across with sweetness and light. Erik Truffaz’s music provides crystal clarity in a happy place. The common thread throughout his discography is the excellence of musicianship from his quartet paired with brilliant collaborations, like with rap artist Nya in “Trippin’ the Lovelight Fantastic” and vocalist Malia (“Yellow Daffodils”).
The freshly minted CD “Lune Rouge” swirls with every color in the book, bleeding into electronica in the exuberant “Five on the Floor” (still, his sound is never heavy, always carried through with grace and atmosphere). The track “ET Two” rings out with a strong lead from Truffaz and creative backup by drums which creates a degree of tension and tautness met head-on by the entire ensemble. The chordal complexities of the title track “Lune Rouge” jump around to different niches in the musical spectrum while being held together with Truffaz’s melodic stitchery. “Nostalgia” takes a different course, initiated by bass guitar and featuring a lot of negative space that Truffaz feels no need to over-stuff.
You were surrounded by music from your dad who played sax. Why did you specifically choose the trumpet?
I began around 6 years and the sax was too big for me, and it was just chance (“le hasard de la vie”) that I took up the sax.
That softness of sound, does it come primarily from your embouchure, your breath control or your soul?
It comes from my mind, my body and my soul. When I was learning in music high school, I had problems with my teachers because of this.
The 2016 album “Doni Doni” definitely has some funk elements and world influences. What do you like about the blurring of lines when it comes to musical genres?
The path of life is to be inspired by the past and to live in the present and thus move forward into the future.
I love the ambient music and groove that comes from Africa, the blues and soul, as my bassist Marcello Giuliani says so well. A good bass riff and a good melody is a good combination for a beautiful composition
What’s in your head when you are performing?
The act of playing is meditative. I live in the music. When I don’t play I think about the rest of the concert, what it takes to feed the tension and mystery.
What do the other musicians in the quartet contribute to the overall vibe?
The contribution is very much shared except the last album which was partly composed by the young Arthur Hnatek (drummer). There are always wonderful improvisations where we find pearls.
Your top two or three collaborations ever?
My quartet; and with Michael Brecker , Joe Lovano and Ed Harcourt (English singer).
What was it like to be involved in the wonderful song by Andre Manoukian and Malia Chamley called “Yellow Daffodils”?
I did this recording without listening to it before, in one track. So it was absolutely fresh.
What instrumentation have you not explored that you would like to?
I would like to perform my composition with a symphonic orchestra plus choir. I did this separately, but not together.
Favorite places to tour?
Italy for the food, Germany and France for the music.
Where would you like to play that you have not yet?
Australia – I’d love to go there to perform!
If you had to ascribe a worldview or a social stance to jazz, what would it be?
We need more and more good musicians!!! There are fewer places in the media for jazz.
What’s new for the rest of 2019 into 2020?
I will tour with my band for the release of “Lune Rouge.” I’ll play my symphonic piece in Bordeaux and Lille (France).
I will play my piece “La Voce della Luna” which is eight voices plus trumpet and organ in April. It will be a beautiful year.
Why have you chosen a life in music?
When I was a child I loved to invite melody on trumpet so when I was 10 I told my parents I was going to be a composer and trumpet player. I felt it was possible to have a poetic approach to a life of music and I was right.
For more information visit www.eriktruffaz.net.
Photos courtesy of and with permission of Erik Truffaz.
(c) Debbie Burke 2019
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