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may 2011
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Big Bands Are Best!

In the series "Jazz&" at Spielboden: The Collective "LeBocal" Releasing a "tribute" album is surely a good way to ensure good visibility. That is true above all due to the fact that the saying "we only eat what we know" seems to agree with more and more people, so well in fact that the least known groups, attracting statistically less audience, are programmed less and the smaller organisers are, for their part, condemned to closing shop.

So there is one aspect of the subject which had to be mentioned!

Fifteen Simple and Frankly Likable Guys...

In 2003, the French Collective "LeBocal" had already dedicated an album to Frank Zappa's work, the rock star who died prematurely in 1993 and probably the most extravagant personality of his generation.
In fact he often used rock and other associated stereotypes to render his complex compositions, which one could even qualify as "serious", understandable by one and all.
The Collective, about half of their set-list being made up of Zappa tunes with the other half comprising their own compositions featured on the CD "Ego", proved two things to us:
The first is that some tunes, irrespective of their strength or their origin or their identity, have all to gain by being covered in a manner that makes them younger thanks to such talent.
The second is that the technical quality and the creative richness of their own compositions are every bit as good as Zappa's work.

(And those are courageous statements, which run the risk of being purely and simply shot down in flames by Zappa fans!).

Oh! one more thing: we have 15 quite frankly likable guys, who go about their work without putting on airs and graces and who are at least as euphoric as the audience.

They dish out their own compositions as one would patiently assemble squares one by one on a piece of patchwork.
In order to maintain such freshness and spontaneity, they sometimes use the techniques of "Instant Composing". This consists in each one playing individually according to a set of changes common to all.
The sound is powerful and all possibilities of dynamic of a Big Band are explored, whereby at times an intensity close to thunder is obtained.
One thinks of the first Zappa compositions.
"Idiot Bastard Son", "King Kong", "Mr. Green Genes": all tunes which evoke the '60s.
They have been completely reworked and quite often the only clues as to what they are come when they play in unison or during the passages magnificently interpreted by the singer Ernie Odoom.
He has a rare voice, covering several octaves and rising clearly and powerfully right up to the highest notes.
These numbers, set out in a patchwork style, are a mix of wildness, where all styles become mixed together, from metal to free jazz.
But it is mostly the influence of African polyrhythms that we detect in the personal compositions which gradually reveal themselves and offer long melodic curved.
The connection with the far-off world of electronics is assured by the tenor saxophonist, who sends out packets of full sounds full of effects which at times include making his instrument squeak and croak in the most frightening manner.
It is however with the greatest of sobriety that he later launches into an energetic solo which electrifies the whole hall.
A great evening!

May 2011 -