Drum & Bass & Miles

Miles Davis fans will likely feel one of two ways about Erik Truffaz's The Mask, either that the French trumpeter sounds too much like Davis or that there's no such thing as sounding too much like Davis.

That said, it would be a shame if those in the former group turned off this remarkable disc, which is actually a compilation of three previous albums never released in the States.

While Truffaz and his working quartet — Patrick Miller on piano and Fender Rhodes, Marcello Guiliani on bass and Marc Erbetta on drums — get into some far-out spaces reminiscent of early '70s Miles albums like Get Up With It and Big Fun, The Mask is not a carbon copy by any stretch.

Much of the album was recorded during Truffaz's stay as a guest at the Blue Note club in London from 1997 to 1999. The influence of that city's club culture is apparent in the heady mix of drum & bass rhythms that soak through tracks like "Bending New Corners" (RealAudio excerpt), "Arroyo" (RealAudio excerpt) and "More" (RealAudio excerpt).

While most attempts at live drum & bass seem to falter on the texture, the Truffaz Quartet uses the hyperspeed rhythms as springboards for intriguing compositions that add a new harmonic level to an occasionally stale style.