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Erik Truffaz: The Walk of the Giant Turtle

The biggest artistic challenge many trumpeters face when embarking on an electronica-fusion excursion is detouring away from paths already established by Miles Davis. French trumpeter Erik Truffaz has struggled with this problem throughout his career, but his more recent works, such as last year’s Mantis, in which he flirted with Middle Eastern textures and rhythms, and this year’s follow-up, The Walk of the Giant Turtle, show that he’s slowly developing his own musical personality.

That’s not to say that The Walk won’t conjure direct images of Miles. Truffaz still fancies that delicate, vibratoless tone on muted trumpet; and his languid phrasing and crying nuances certainly conjures the Prince of Darkness. The long, sustained notes on “Scody Part I” and “Wilfried” readily bring to mind Miles’ Aura, while the skulking dirge vamp on “Flamingos” shamelessly betrays its blueprints from Miles’ Get Up With It. Truffaz, however, comes into his own man mainly through his sense of melody. He prefers simple melodic hooks that often glide over the glassy textures created by keyboardist Patrick Muller, but whereas Miles often blew forceful staccato figures and more gutbucket flavor into the mix, Truffaz seldom gets riled-up, even on the more aggressive cuts. He allows his elusive melodies to evaporate amidst the swooshing soundscapes.

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