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B i o g r a p h y
 (by Official Site)

Erik Truffaz, the brilliant French trumpeter, whose amalgam of electro-acoustic fusion, combustible dance rhythms and jazz tonalities, is once again doing something new.

Following his US debut, The Mask, and the adventurous remix record, Revisité, Truffaz has delved even further into his muse to create Mantis, his most intense and satisfying recording yet. The culmination of years working with his equally visceral quartet, Mantis finds the trumpeter composing the bulk of the compositions and collaborating with three renowned musicians new to his impressionist music. Extending Truffaz’s potent improvisations and surreal, rhythm-drenched compositions, Mantis places the trumpeter in the forefront of the creative improvisation scene.

"The big difference between Mantis and my previous albums is the form," says Truffaz. "For Mantis I chose a guitar player, but also a Tunisian singer. However, the beats are close to the ones I used with my former band. Also, a major change is that I composed almost all the tracks on the album."

Mantis documents his band’s growth as a sweltering improvisational unit, whether blazing through cacophonous drum and bass or conjuring starkly meditative, In A Silent Way moods. Often compared to Miles Davis for his similar use of space and tone, Truffaz has a word for the critics: "Maybe they should wash out their ears." My response is that they have to listen to Miles and then listen to my music.

"My band sounds like itself," he continues. "Of course, I cannot say that Miles does not influence me. His work is so big and within such a long period of time. He is the Picasso of Jazz and he will still influence musicians for years and years. But my band doesn’t sound like Agharta or any of Miles’ work. We are in 2002, inspired by the moods of our time, different grooves. It’s true that there is a link between my music and the one from the seventies, but I try to look ahead instead of behind."

With a total of five albums under their belt, three released only in Europe through EMI France (Out of A Dream, The Dawn, and Bending New Corners) and two also being released in the U.S. through Blue Note (The Mask, a compilation of tracks from his three previously European releases, and Revisité), Truffaz’s quartet is that rare thing in jazz, a working band whose members know each other’s playing like the back of their collective hands. This rare kineticism has enabled the quartet to achieve new heights of improvisation and cohesion. Mantis is darker, harder, more lyrical, more beautiful and daring than any previous Truffaz recording. It also documents Truffaz’s growing compositional skills.

"My challenge was to change the sound of Bending New Corners and The Dawn, then to find a new sound, and last but not least, compose these tunes alone. Just two compositions are not my own. For some tracks I tried to find some good grooves and after that I tried them with the band. For the others, the most melodic ones, these are songs I composed on the piano during these last five years."

Mantis’ many moods are an extension of Truffaz’s earlier music, but also show great progression for him and his band. Joining Truffaz are Philippe Garcia (drums, megaphone), Michel Benita (bass), and guitarist Manu Codjia, who contributes textural counterpoint throughout. Expanding his palette even further, Truffaz collaborated with oud virtuoso Anouar Brahem for the spectral duet, “Nina Valeria,” and Tunisian singer Mounir Troudi on the scorching Arabic drum and bass hybrid, “Magrouni” (which also features Truffaz and Codija in a blazing bout of Hendrix-inspired doubling).

“Mounir is an incredibly good singer from Tunisia," says Truffaz. “He’s got Arab musical culture under his skin. I met him two years ago at the beautiful Tabarka Jazz Festival in Tunisia. He simply came on stage to sing with us. I was impressed by his voice and by his aura. I told him I would try to work with him one day. Mantis was the right time to achieve it.”

Mantis’ menu includes the atmospheric drum and bass of “The Point,” the freeform, ethereal terrain of “No Fear,” the human beatbox and interstellar sound effects of “Parlophone” and the meditative closing tracks, “Mare Mosso” and “Tahun Bahu.”

“It is always difficult to look at yourself in a mirror,” says Truffaz, regarding his musical future. “But I can imagine I will obtain more and more with less and less words.”

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