François Couturier / Tarkovsky Quartet NUIT BLANCHE
Following their sublime duo outing, Moderato Cantabile (ECM, 2014), cellist Anja Lechner and François Couturier reunite in the pianist's quartet responsible for two-thirds of a recorded trilogy for ECM Records, all devoted to Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, whose name would ultimately become synonymous with the group: Tarkovsky Quartet.
Bookending Couturier's second album of the trilogy, 2010's solo piano session Un jour si blanc, 2006's Nostalghia—Songs for Tarkovsky and 2011's Tarkovsky Quartet established Couturier's quartet—also featuring soprano saxophonist Jean March Larche and accordionist Jean Louis Matinier—as a chamber-like group with increasingly deep chemistry, a particularly profound allegiance to the value of space and significance of decay, and an ability to improvise and/or interpret with equal parts discretion and taste, whether it's vividly lyrical or more jaggedly angular, thoroughly scripted or completely open-ended.
With Nuit Blanche, Couturier's trilogy becomes a quadrilogy, as his quartet expands its horizons even farther than ever before on an album that explores ambiguous nether-regions of time, space and consciousness. Being from a group that may not record or perform together as often as they (or their fans) might like, there are other projects that keep the internal chemistry growing...and in contexts that, as different as they are, provide grist for alternative explorations when everyone comes together as Tarkovsky Quartet.