Monday, July 31, 2006

Rhythm and Mohawks in a Jazz Bar in Paris

Never, ever underestimate the power of a great rhythm section to keep you awake in a Paris Jazz Concert after a long long flight...

Saturday me, my nine hour jet-lag and a 32 Celcius Paris spent the evening listening to jazz together at the Duc Des Lombards. Olivier Temime (and his trademark haircut) and 'the Volunteered Slaves' (a reference to Roland Kirk's piece 'volunteered slaves') were playing their
brand of soul jazz/funk/hard bop with Temime leading the group on Sax. My fatigue and the heat (though I love that most Paris Jazz clubs are now non-smoking, sometimes it would be wonderful if they were also air conditioned...) eventually pulled me out of the club in time to catch the last metro, but for most of the two sets I was thrilled by the tight and risk-taking rhythm section of Julien CHARLET (dms), Arnold MOUEZA (perc) and the bassist whose name was nowhere listed and was sped by in every announcment (to him I apologise...) along with the tight playing of Jérôme BARDE (Bardophone) playing on a very pretty seven string self-named guitar of his own making. 

This inner quartet kept up an unrelenting groove that gave the soloists an energetic platform for their work. In their promotional material they refer to influences like Joe Henderson (Black Narcissus, Blue Bossa) and Roland Kirk (the blind american player who specialised in blowing on several instruments at the same time) and while I can see the connections, I found a closer relation to players like Eddie Harris (the player whose jazz albums regularly topped the R & B charts in the 60's). My grumble with the group was that often I found Olivier Timime to be riding on the back of his rhythm section and not the leader I expected to hear. Call me a bitter ex-punk rocker if you like, but I think if you're going to cut your hair into a Mohawk and pick up a sax to lead a jazz group, then you've got to also pick up the attitude of risk and attack that comes along with the territory. I'm not sure if Temime was up to the challenge.

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