Michel Portal – Dockings (Label Bleu, 1998)

Michel Portal

CD Label Bleu LBLC 6604 (France, 1998)

01. Barouf
02. Dolphy
03. Lion’s Dream
04. Mutinerie
05. Next
06. Solitudes
07. Embrouille
08. K.O.
09. Tourniole
10. Ida Lupino
11. Illusion in B Flat

Michel Portal – clarinette basse & b-flat, bandoneon, saxophone alto
Joey Baron – batterie
Steve Swallow – basse électrique
Markus Stockhausen – trompette
Bruno Chevillon – contrebasse
Bojan Zulfikarpasic – piano

On this session, Michel Portal is featured with an eclectic and impressive crew from different backgrounds, generations, and nationalities. Two rising figures of the French scene (pianist Bojan Zulfikarpasic and bassist Bruno Chevillon), two American stars (bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Joey Baron), and German trumpeter Markus Stockhausen, son of composer Karlheinz, join forces to create stimulating music. Beyond their differences, all share a characteristic versatility which contributes greatly to the success of this session. Overall, Portal remains true to his European esthetics, and even his heartfelt and faithful rendition of Carla Bley’s « Ida Lupino » or his tribute to Eric Dolphy do not distract from the prevalent mood. In fact, on « Dolphy, » the song’s angular structure is reminiscent of the legendary American, but the atmosphere has more to do with John Surman, another great practitioner of the bass clarinet, the instrument Portal uses most on Dockings. « Mutinerie » is the composition that summarizes best the content of this recording, with a strong and engaging melody leading to an improvisation that takes the music outside through substantial and dramatic statements by Portal, Stockhausen, and Zulfikarpasic. Baron plays with confidence and authority without sacrificing subtlety when needed. As for Chevillon and Swallow, they share responsibilities without ever stepping on each other’s feet. Dockings is arguably one of the most successful and accessible projects in Michel Portal’s long-lasting career. (Alain Drouot, All Music Guide)

FR Quand certains aimeraient le croire fossilisé, Michel Portal s’entoure d’une sacrée brochette de musiciens, et livre là un opus forcément épatant (je dis ‘forcément’ puisque avec Bojan Zulfikarpasic dans les parages on n’en attendait pas moins).
ENG An album with Michel Portal has to be great. An album with such a line-up has to be great. And yes, this album is great, because an album with Bojan Zulfikarpasic is always great (that’s a fact).

Visit Michel Portal or Label Bleu

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