Jérôme Bourdellon/Michel Edelin

Peninsula
Label Usine L.U. 2017

Fine and forcible flute fabrication featured from first-rate French flutists characterizes Peninsula with the nine tracks substantiating that the transverse instrument is more versatile than most listeners realize. These veteran Gallic improvisers though are no strangers to cooperative playing with other flutists or with other instrumentalists. Jérôme Bourdellon for instance has recorded with Joe McPhee and Carlos Zingaro among many others; while Michel Edelin has not only duetted with Nicole Mitchell, but headed a Paris group with two other transverse tooters. Also on this CD in order to spread the sounds during this flute soufflé, Bourdellon plays bass flute, octobass flute and Koncovka flute as well as the standard instrument, while Edelin adds alto flute, bass flute, Indian bansuri and recorder to his flute flights.

The pitch and weight of the deep-toned instruments allow the two to frequently construct a chunky continuum, with booming breaths or key percussion providing the sonic terrain upon which the other player can build as many gentle or ethereal puffs as needed. At the same time while understated a basic rhythmic thrust is always present. Various strategies are elaborated throughout as well. “Rut des Béhémots”, with Edelin on alto flute and Bourdellon on bass flute is the blusiest track, with different tempos used to further isolate the tone separation, creating a lunging call-and-response effect. Then at points on “Soleil d’argent”, Edelin on straight flute angles his solo upwards like a soloist in a big band, as Bourdellon’s octobass flute pushes with the power one would expect from band section work, with the underlying pulse never slacking as it quickens. Sounding primitive and nautical simultaneously on “Lunules électriques”, Bourdellon’s Koncovka flute and Edelin’s recorder even join to produce what sounds like a duet for swinging hornpipe.

The duo most profound interaction is “Bleuités” and following “Poissons d’or”, which serves as coda to the preceding track. With Edelin moving among flute, bansuri and bass flute and Bourdellon utilizing flute and octobass flute, the two intertwine Indian and European airs with ostinato growls from the low-pitched instrument and add a cunning within-the-groove wail from the other. Continued on the subsequent track, both players’ facility is celebrated with a theme that is both swinging and folksy.

A definite must for flute fanatics, the skills Bourdellon and Edelin bring to the program will likely attract even those who usually avoid the instrument(s).

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Roulis Doux 2. Equipages 3, Péninsules 4. Bleuités 5. Poissons d’or 6. Rut des Béhémots 7. Lunules électriques 8. Soleil d’argent 9. Azurs verts

Personnel: Michel Edelin (flute, alto flute, bass flute, bansuri, unidentified recorder), Jérôme Bourdellon (flute, bass flute, octobass flute, Koncovka flute)