» Henri Texier (double bass), Sébastien Texier (clarinets, alto sax), Manu Codjia (guitar), Christophe Marguet (drums) «
It’s probably something of a personality deficiency that meant that this was the first I had ever knowingly heard of Texier… His Strada quartet taking the Saturday afternoon cathedral ruins’ stage for a solid workout, a good long single set that started slowly but which steadily built up pace, moving from mellow starts, through stomping rock beats, to unmitigated freedom… Texier’s bass always quite delicate, mild-mannered and understated but, at the same time, full of narrative. He was joined by his son Sébastien on wind; bright but naive-sounding post-bop falling streams… I liked him on bass clarinet; whenever I think of this instrument I usually reference back to the brash tones of Eric Dolphy; this was nicely smooth and liquid… From the word go it was obvious that this was a European quartet, the mood clearly influenced by tones of European folk music (I’m assuming French traditions play some significant role!). The bass clarinet played off this mood well, at times beginning to recreate some sort of accordion texture. The star performance was from Manu Codjia who played consistently evocative electric guitar lines… Glitchy percussion through to growling overdrive. As the set worked through, the pieces became more and more free and, with the end in sight, their final piece featured a pretty major and awesome rocking workout across the rhythm section, Codjia continually inventive, met by Christophe Marguet’s in-motion drumming. For Codjia, Marc Ducret would be my own immediate reference point… Is this some sort of French thing?
I didn’t know what to expect from this group, but it all turned out pretty magically satisfying. This was definitely one of the key festival highlights for me. Shame that the audience was so pitiful in size (small but plenty appreciative; as Texier pointed out, ‘it’s not the quantity, it’s the quality that counts’!). It was difficult, however, to completely separate it out from the surroundings of so much other music. Must try and check them out again, with undivided attention! Anyone care for some Texier CD recommendations?