coup de coeur
10 Mars 2014

Brad Mehldau & Mark Guiliana

Mehliana: Taming the Dragon

par Raphaël Dugué

Mehliana: Taming the Dragon est le premier disque d’une collaboration atypique entamée il y a quelques années entre le pianiste et claviériste Brad Mehldau et le batteur Mark Guiliana (qui a joué notamment avec Avishai Cohen). D’un côté, Mehldau ne joue que très peu de piano, il fait plutôt la part belle aux différents synthétiseurs vintage ou au Fender Rhodes dont il utilise à merveille les textures et les possibilités. Il créé une musique dense, se chargeant à la fois des lignes mélodiques (parfois plusieurs simultanément) et rythmiques. De l’autre côté, Guiliana montre une créativité et une technique impressionnantes. Bill Bruford avait lui-même exprimé toute son admiration pour le batteur, et il est vrai que la filiation entre les deux n’est pas inexistante : Guiliana joue beaucoup sur les syncopes, souvent en suspens. L’autre influence du batteur est le groupe d’électro Aphex Twin que l’on retrouve dans les polyrythmies et les sonorités plus synthétiques. Ensemble les deux musiciens forment un duo explosif, il se passe quelque chose d’unique dans ces échanges électriques de haute volée.

Tout au long de l’album, le projet Mehliana propose un formidable exemple de jazz post-modern, Mehldau et Guiliana se servent de leurs influences comme un terrain de jeu, une invitation à la création. Les synthétiseurs et les solos de Mehldau rappellent, par exemple, les meilleures heures du progressif des années soixante-dix. Il flotte aussi en permanence sur Mehliana: Taming the Dragon une certaine ambiance psychédélique (à l’image de la pochette dessinée par Dima Drjuchin). Au détour de « Luxe », les circonvolutions hypnotiques du Fender Rhodes évoquent Terry Riley. Dans les atmosphères plus planantes, ce sont les musiques électroniques qui s’invitent, alors qu’une réinterprétation de Gainsbourg laisse place au groove sensuel de « Sassyassed Sassafrass ». En dépit de cette diversité, Mehliana possède sa propre identité qui apporte une réelle cohérence à l’ensemble. Les textures riches et les rythmiques complexes n’empêchent pas les morceaux d’être très mélodiques et terriblement accrocheurs.

Dans un paysage musical où de plus en plus de groupes se contentent de recréer les musiques des années soixante aux années quatre-vingts sous prétexte d’une nostalgie branchée, Mehldau et Guiliana apportent une réelle fraîcheur avec ce disque doté d’une forte personnalité et d’une modernité bienvenue, en utilisant ces influences pour mieux s’en affranchir. À la toute fin de l’album, les dernières interventions de Guiliana sur l’éthéré « London Gloaming » apportent un sentiment de flottement, comme si il écrivait les points de suspension d’un voyage halluciné qui s’annonce passionnant.

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