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«We Stay still»

Matthieu Mazué is a French is a 25 years old pianist based in Switzerland and leads his trio with Swiss double bass player Xaver Rüegg and drummer Michael Cina. We Stay Still  is the sophomore album of this trio, following Cortex (Unit, 2021, with praises of sax player Michaël Attias who wrote the liner notes), and cements the sophisticated compositional ideas of Mazué as well as how the trio’s improvisations embellish these compositional veins. Mazué won a few awards for his compositions for his trio.

The director of Jazzdor, Philippe Ochem, stresses in his liner notes the maturity of this young trio, with all the musicians not yet thirty years old. The music never treads familiar paths, it is fresh, but it radiates a certain calmness. The accumulated experience of this trio playing together contribute to the natural flow of the complex and often cerebral music and its immediate flexibility, balancing beautifully discipline and freedom. «The trio knows each other well, works a lot, builds, deconstructs, reconstructs and finds a deeply original language which, even if it summons history, never ceases to develop a resolutely modern, open language, which leaves a great freedom to its protagonists». Ochem also hints at the seminal influence of Mal Waldron on Mazué’s compositional and improvisation strategies, especially on the opening pieces “White Fields”, but you can also evoke the spirit of Andrew Hill, who influenced not only Mazué’s playing but also on his approach to composing music.

Mazué composed nine pieces for We Stay Still, but he encourages deconstruction and reconstruction of his own ideas in order to explore new angles and architectures within the music. The music is inspired by the jazz legacy but as Ochem observes wisely «it’s not about inspiration but about escape, without running away». With this kind of open approach, the trio develops profound, powerful and challenging modern music, that highlights the freedom given to all three musicians at any given moment, where all aspects of the music are constantly questioned – structure, building and releasing tension and rhythm. The lyrical «A Standing Black Shape» and «Prototype Monolithe» capture best how this trio weaves a complex and intriguing architecture, with unpredictable but organically flowing outlines, that suggest imaginary bridges to the jazz legacy but insist on its own identity and aesthetics.

Eyal Hareuveni 

Matthieu Mazué (p), Xaver Rüegg (b), Michael Cina (dr)

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