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Napolis Walls & Chants, Hymns and Dances

Napoli’s Walls

  • Louis Sclavis clarinets, saxophones
  • Vincent Courtois cello, electronics
  • Médéric Collignon pocket trumpet, voice
  • Hasse Poulsen guitar

"Even by Sclavis's own exacting standards, Napoli's Walls is something special." - The Guardian


Chants, Hymns & Dances

  • Anja Lechner cello
  • Vassilis Tsabropoulos piano

"Lechner and Tsaboropoulos perform with a devotion to space and attention to the sound of each note as it slowly decays… a recording of sublime beauty." - All About Jazz

8pm Wed 14th September Liberty Hall D1
adm €25 (inc booking fee) tel: 01 872 1122

As summer wanes, all the tones of the season’s turn is reflected in this opening double bill of the ECM:05 Autumn Cycle. Between them, the quartet of France’s Louis Sclavis and the duo of German cellist Anja Lechner and Greek pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos offer a prized vantage point on the iconic label’s philosophy, embracing its unique approach to the classical and jazz traditions in Europe.

New Series, ECM’s foray into chamber music, delivered one its most compelling documents to date in 2003’s Chants, Hymns and Dances, the debut recording from Vassilis Tsabropoulos and Anja Lechner, both musicians intimately associated with the Munich label. He is Greece’s leading pianist, equally at home in propulsive jazz trio (The Triangle, Achirana) or solo reflection (Akroasis), she is virtuoso classical cellist and a founding member of the feted Rosamund Quartet. The narrative here pivots around Byzantine hymns and the miniatures of Armenian composer Georges Gurdjieff, meditative piano enjoined with stately cello to create a deeply reflective music, at once old and contemporary, that evokes the best work of figures like Arvo Part.

Classicism is also to the fore with French clarinettist Louis Sclavis finding inspiration in painter Ernest Pignon-Ernest, whose graffiti art is omnipresent in the Italian city of the project’s title, Napoli’s Walls. Sclavis, one of Europe’s great jazz mavericks and a maestro of the bass clarinet, creates a synthesis of folksong, opera, free jazz and popular music that is forceful, direct and thoroughly contemporary. Subtle use of electronics imparts a surreal quality, buttressed by fiery improvisations that teeter on a knife-edge, giving way to ensemble passages of breathtaking prowess. It's bold and uncompromising terrain, embracing light and shade, tonality and abstraction, grace and turbulence.

Napoli’s Walls are brought to life by a colourful cast, including the innovative cellist Vincent Courtois, Danish guitarist Hasse Poulsen and the unpredictable trumpet and voice of France’s current enfant terrible Mederic Collingnon. Combine these resources with Sclavis' own willful creativity, and you have an aggregate in polar opposite to the restraint of Lechner and Tsabropoulos, in a night of vivid contrast to satisfy every musical appetite.

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