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Dave Brubeck Quartet and Bill Smith at the Earshot Jazz Festival

Erik Truffaz

For many trumpeters who delve into electronica-inspired grooves, it seems almost involuntary for them to mimic Miles Davis or quote “All Blues” or “Jean Pierre.” But a few, like Erik Truffaz, are slowly learning how to incorporate Miles’ vast vocabulary and come up with their own musical narratives, even if those stories aren’t always entirely compelling.

The highly celebrated Truffaz showed signs of finally coming into his own at this French Embassy concert in Washington, D.C. Animating his arid, vibratoless tone with pensive cries and languid lines, Truffaz sounded like a trumpeter touched by Miles’ influences, especially when he glided over burnished guitar chords and scattering rhythms, or pointed his horn’s bell toward his chest to evoke a sense of guarded intimacy. But if you listen carefully, both live and on his new CD, Mantis (Blue Note), you’ll hear that Truffaz plays far more notes than Miles and that his tone is closer to Herb Alpert’s that Davis’.

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