A Guide to the Mind-Bending Jazz of François Tusques 

Source: Bandcamp Daily

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There’s a clip on YouTube of François Tusques hunched over a white piano in a quaint living room. Maybe it’s his house, maybe it isn’t. An upright bassist is standing to his left; behind her, some guy is scrolling through a smartphone. They were there to celebrate Tusques’s 80th birthday, but it seems like a small party for a jazz legend. Usually when an icon reaches that age, they mark the occasion with world tours and retrospective box sets. But Tusques is a curious case: though he helped establish the free jazz scene in his native France, his name won’t ring any bells in the United States, where place settings for the subgenre’s Mount Rushmore are reserved for John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor. Still, some 3,600 miles from New York City—the epicenter of jazz in the ‘60s—Tusques was building his own legacy as an avant-garde pianist who could command the stage at a Paris hotspot, then score free jazz soundtracks to Jean Rollin’s horrorotica films. His music worked in both arenas; there was a palpable darkness to it—the sensuality of late-night walks where uncertainty looms around the corner.