François Carrier/Rafal Mazur/Michel Lambert

The Joy of Being
No Business Records NBCD 97

By Ken Waxman

Continuation of the unique Polish-Canadian partnership between Montrealers, alto saxophonist François Carrier and drummer Michel Lambert, plus Krakow’s acoustic bass guitarist Rafal Mazur, this live session finds the parts meshing like Polish perogies and Québécois craft beer: unusual but nourishing.

Mazur is ambidextrous in that his work utilizes both guitar-like intonation and double bass-like resonation. His fluid strokes create a walking-bass-like foundation on tracks such as True Nature allowing the others freedom to improvise; while his solo forays such as on Omnipresent Beauty, vibrate sophisticated tonal asides which frequently refocus the narratives. As adept at squeezing rhythmic inferences from his drums and cymbals with the attention of a doctor performing microsurgery, Lambert’s motion subtly reinforces the program so that many beats are implied Although on tracks such as “True Nature” Carrier exultantly stretches his solos almost to the edge of infinity so that that every variation, extension and partial is exposed, these choppy asides logically making pops. Carrier has other side as well. His wide vibrations and thoughtful timbre elaborations on “Blissfulness” and “Mystery of Creation” are as artful as Paul Desmond’s ballad style.

With the hushed and hardy parts of the trio’s work constantly available, the title tune is the most distinctive showpiece. Producing yelping split tones from a Chinese oboe Carrier strains to to outline Mazur’s crackling runs and Lambet’s undulating slaps. With Carrier back on alto by the finale, “The Joy of Being” is another instance of the trio’s complete communication.

-For The Whole Note May 2017