AMN Reviews: François Carrier, Tomek Gadecki, Marcin Bozek & Michel Lambert – Wide (2020; FMR Records)

Long-time collaborators François Carrier and Michel Lambert teamed up with Tomek Gadecki and Marcin Bozek for a performance in Bydgoszcz, Poland on May 24 of 2018. Carrier plays alto sax while Gadecki handles the tenor. Bozek switches between bass and flugelhorn, while Lambert is on drums.  As captured across the 60-plus minutes of Wide, this quartet produces firey free improvisation with a unique flavor.

Carrier and Gadecki both duel and complement each other with dense and angular leads. This varies from squealing breaks to more structured spontaneity with the rest of the group.  The slower and more atmospheric passages are thoughtfully set forth, with the occasional discordant blast thrown in for good measure. A fair amount of the album consists of Carrier and Gadecki in an evolving dialog with the others taking on a supportive role.

Nonetheless, Bozek and Lambert prove to be more than a capable rhythm section as the former plays his instrument relentlessly while the latter manages to lay down roughly discernable patterns that are somehow still “free.” In particular, Bozek handles the upper registers proficiently, filling space with notes and flourishes.

If nothing else, Wide establishes that this form of experimentation can be exhilarating without going too far outside or relying on the tropes of the pioneers of 50 or more years ago. The quartet here offers a fully-modern, innovative, yet familiar mix that is consumately likable in its knottiness.