The group Nefertiti takes its name from the composition by Wayne Shorter, the musical poet whose dreams find their expression in such improbably shaped melodic lines.
Delphine Deau draws on that idea in the passion she has for working on the form of compositions. The group which she started in 2013 from people she first encountered at the CRR conservatoire in Paris might look like a classic jazz quartet, and these are indeed superb players, but appearances can be deceptive.
We could not be further removed here from those endless repetitions of ‘tune – improvised solos – tune again’. In Nefertiti, Delphine uses a very different dramaturgy. The form appears only when it needs to, after preliminary frolicking and shadow-play. Then, and only then, does the composition move forward. In a paradoxical and very appealing way, it is liberating. And that is because, once the free sounds have created their own tension, the arrival of melody and pulse brings certainty; and yet the line has the liberty to zigzag, to whirl about, and to be peppered with polyrhythms.
The lyrical playing of saxophonist Camille Maussion complements and extends this marvelous pianist’s concept, and in an ideal way. It is not by chance that the saxophonist is also involved in ‘soundpainting’, and collaborates in the fields of dance, theatre and storytelling. Drummer Pierre Demange is another musician with similar leanings, and is familiar with both the film and the circus worlds. His mode of working with the wonderfully flexible Brazilian double bassist Pedro Ivo Ferreira often feels like they have together discovered the secret of perpetual motion.
After two albums, Danses Futuristes from 2015 and Morse Code from 2018, the band has developed its collective sound, a process deepened by the touring they have done. The Nefertiti Quartet won the 2019 Euroradio Jazz Competition.