Thursday, December 15, 2005

Nathalie Loriers & Philippe Aerts - 13/12/2005, Brussels

Interesting midday concert yesterday at the Musée des Instruments de Musique. I saw the first Aerts-Loriers duo at the 2003 Django d'Or awards and found it really boring. I've seen her in other contexts (sextet, accompanying a singer, in the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, duetting with an oud player) and never really warmed to her. This time, however, she (they) had me from hello. That raises the old is it me/is it the performer/is it the space/is it the time of day questions. In this particular case, I put it down to the duo itself being better and the space being exceptionally well-suited to their music.

They started out at a high level right away and maintained it right through to the end. "Walking Through Walls" exposed her elegant manner, diamond-clear lines and a delicate swing that is occasionally reinforced with shifting rhythmic patterns, such as the 9/8 bass figure that interrupts the forward movement of "The Last Thought of the Day."

The template was set, which allowed the music to be at its best when setting a foot outside it. A so-new-it's-untitled piece did this by being more complex (a highly syncopated and unpredictable 5/4 bass that still managed to imply swing, less conventional, but not more dissonant, harmony) and thus being both attractive and interesting. The following "Danse éternelle" was inspired by the unending movement of trees and had something slower, darker and denser about it.

The last song before the encore was "Dinner with Ornette and Thelonious" began with a bass that had a Carribbean undercurrent to it and later developed a theme of Ornette-ish playfulness. As an encore, they played the set's only standard, [spoiler]"Someday My Prince Will Come,"[/spoiler] which Loriers prefaced with one of those extended "guess this tune" intros which inevitably make you smile at the moment of recognition. Relive it for yourself by listening to it below.