Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Scott Tixier: Cosmic Adventure

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Considering its unconventional frontline of Scott Tixier’s violin and Yvonnick Prene’s harmonica, Cosmic Adventure is surprisingly conventional jazz. The album’s nine tracks are mostly A-B forms, mostly swinging, mostly with lyrical, hummable melodies and logical, melodically developed solos. “Conventional” is by no means a pejorative here, however; Cosmic Adventure is a fresh, thoroughly enjoyable recording.

The aforementioned frontline gets much of the credit for the music’s quality. Tixier has a remarkably vocal tone, and he employs it with considerable suspense-whether working with the natural drama of the chord changes (“Beam Me to Mars”) or injecting his own brand of tension (“Maze Walker”). The latter, the album opener, reveals Tixier to be a canny musical thinker. The tune is a chops-heavy affair, built on a descending arc. Later, the violinist centers his solo in the upper register, applying enough peaks and valleys to blow off some steam without arriving at a full-on release. That comes with Prene, who also brandishes a meaty sound, simultaneously relieving Tixier’s tension and ratcheting up his own-a kind of conceptual equivalent to circular breathing.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published