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The Vinyl Whistle

Eric Chenaux Trio - Delights Of My Life

Eric Chenaux Trio - Delights Of My Life

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Album - Release Date: 31/05/24 - Black Vinyl

Genre: Jazz/Modern Comp.

Delights Of My Life opens a new chapter for the singer/guitarist and formally introduces the Eric Chenaux Trio, with Toronto-based musicians Ryan Driver on Wurlitzer organ and Phillipe Melanson on electronic percussion. Driver is a longtime collaborator, appearing on several of Chenaux’s solo albums (even embedded into the very title of the 2010 masterpiece Warm Weather With Ryan Driver). Melanson has a long list of involvements that include Bernice, Joseph Shabason, and U.S Girls, and a recent release with his Impossible Burger project on Chenaux’s own experimental label Rat-drifting, but this marks the first fulsome involvement between the two as players on a recording.

In many ways Delights Of My Life also picks up right where Chenaux’s previous album left off, in its subversions of a classic, timeless jazz-inflected balladry, while the interplay of the trio formation indeed unfurls many new delights. Recording together at Chenaux’s spartan home studio in rural France, Driver’s harmonically warped organ and Melanson’s electroacoustic sampling and percussion hold time in newfound ways. Where previously Chenaux relied on a freeze/sustain pedal and minimalist rhythmic triggers to generate both pulse and chordal foundations, Melanson now paints timekeeping with expressive and intricate colourations, through live deployments of fluid sampled percussion (including orchestral timbres like timpani, kettle drums, and woodblock) that blur the boundaries between acoustic and electronic. Driver also ramps up his role in the song arrangements (prefigured in his support playing on Say Laura), teasing out chords and melodic filigree on Wurlitzer that percolate more prominently with Chenaux’s signature fried guitar solos and succulent singing. Both trio members add dulcet backing vocals, most notably on the 10-minute tour-de-force of fuzzed and ring-modulated swing “This Ain’t Life” that opens the record. All seven songs on the album groove and sway, simmer and sparkle, like nothing in the inestimable Chenaux discography to date.

Chenaux’s tunes have the uncanny ability to sound like jazz standards; songs you feel you’ve heard before, though certainly never quite like this. Yet these are of course all originals, compositionally and interpretively, bent through an inimitable avant/out-music lens. Delights Of My Life conveys warm familiarity, shot through with the exuberantly experimental subversion and playful, even mischievous, iconoclasm that continues to mark Chenaux as defiantly, virtuosically, and genially one-of-kind.

For Chet Baker, Jim O’Rourke, Billie Holiday, Derek Bailey, Jeff Parker, Mary Halvorson, David Grubbs.

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