ERIK TRUFFAZ with DEE JAY NAV at the Rivoli (332 Queen West), Wednesday (June 6). $12. 416-596-1908. Rating: NNNNN
as anyone who has tried to seea live band in a dance club or dance in a live music venue will attest, intersections between the worlds of dance culture and live music are usually closer to head-on collisions than gentle meetings.
Crossover between the two scenes is rare and usually awkward, so what makes the electroacoustic funk of French trumpeter Erik Truffaz so remarkable is how he manages to blend the two worlds.
The horn player is signed to legendary jazz imprint Blue Note but also mixes it up with the club kids, playing with live hiphop and jungle bands and turning his tracks over to producers for churning remixes.
As a result, Truffaz's clattering tracks get play in forward-looking clubs around Europe, but he's also succeeded in bringing the club crowd out for live performances featuring his five-piece band. No small matter, but so far brawls between jazz beardos and dancing jungle fans have been kept to a minimum.
"At our shows the crowd is a mix of young hiphop and dance people and jazz fans," Truffaz explains in broken English from Perpignon. "We get open-minded people from different styles of music. They are very different people, and they don't usually get along.
"I think there is a point where they can meet, and it's there that they surprise themselves. For me, and for jazz music, getting these young people to believe in what they see is very important for the survival of jazz."
Truffaz's new remix disc pushes the mix even further out. Revisité features radical reworkings of the trumpeter's tracks by electroacoustic pioneer Pierre Henry, French breakbeat mob Mobile in Motion and others.
The new tracks twist the union between acoustic jazz, hiphop and electronic music even tighter. Links back to the chilled-out global swing of Don Cherry and Miles Davis are obvious both on the original and reworked tracks. Just don't call what Truffaz does fusion.
"I am not so comfortable with that word," he mutters. "Yes, it's fusion, but there are a lot of different kinds of fusion. When they hear that word, people think of jazz rock, hippies and long beards, and I don't come from that style.
"I also wouldn't call it jazz. I used to say that we were a jazz band who play pop music and a pop band who play jazz music. It's confusing, but also the truth."
No surprise that Truffaz's 21st-century jazz didn't sneak into Ken Burns's monotonous Jazz documentary. By simply pretending that groups like Truffaz's don't exist, purists remain stuck in the past and don't have to think about anything since the mid-1960s.
Truffaz hasn't seen Jazz, but knows exactly why he wouldn't be in the film.
"People get uncomfortable with what we do, and I like that," he laughs. "It isn't totally foreign, though. There are groups like Medeski Martin & Wood who do similar things, as well as a lot of different DJs and musicians here in France.
"In a way, we are the sound of youth. It is unignorable."