Double-bass is often considered as a rhythm section instrument, but there are a few stellar artists who have brought it at the forefront. NHOP is one of them, Renaud Garcia-Fons is another. Garcia-Fons’ music stems from jazz aesthetics and European musical roots. Arcoluz is a live recording that pushes this melange far far out and is just a sonic marvel.
First of all, understand that Garcia-Fons has got it all, from deep groove to moving lyricism (often with the bow), from stunning melodic precision to grumbling tension. He is also an amazing composer, often drawn towards orientalism in textures and mood. The fact that he is backed here by Kiko Ruiz on the spanish guitar and Negrito Transante on percussions reinforces that drive to the South, way beyond the Iberic peninsula.
There are moments of intense romantic tension on this live recording, in particular the intro to Dias. There are also pulsating moments of world groove like Berimbass (stunning double bass intro…) or Gitanet. The longer pieces like Anda Loco are more structured and have distinct movements and moods. But it’s a record that has both an amazing consistency and a great variety of atmospheres.
As an added bonus to this wealth of great world jazz music, the package is CD+DVD with the full concert on DVD. It’s really worth watching, not only to feel proximity to the music but to see Garcia-Fons’ amazing techniques in emulating other instruments’ idiosyncrasies. The way he slaps his bow on the strings while playing pizzicatis to create these short bursts is nothing short of astounding…