March 31, 2019
Alto saxophonist Michaël Attias has earned respect at the helm of several first-rate bands. But on his new release — échos la nuit, releasing Friday on the independent label Out Of Your Head — he pares down to a solo format, for the first time on record. In this respect, he’s joining a lineage of spartan saxophone monologuists like Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton and Evan Parker. The salient distinction is that Attias is alone but not unaccompanied: while he plays alto, he often has one hand on the piano. He also uses sympathetic vibration, often pointing the bell of his saxophone into the piano chassis, while holding down the sustain pedal.
The opening track is “Echoes 1: Mauve,” which effectively sets the mood. This is music of deep inquiry and patient exposition. It has the air of a soul-baring even as Attias keeps his cards close to his vest.
– Nate Chinen