Monday, May 07, 2007

free voices jazz in Paris

The nomadic heart of LA VOIX EST LIBRE jazz festival in Paris was alive and pounding on Saturday night...first night of the festival, the Bouffes was crammed-full. What I like about this fest is the risk-taking--which doesn't always work, but isn't stepping out on that ledge the soul of jazz? The first part of the night featured Reunion singer Nathalie Natiembe riffing with American sax player David Murray and French drummer Denis Charolles. And i found Natiembe a bit out of her element when the two free jazz types got going --Murray playing from the guts and Charolles maniacal, playing percussion with rocks & hand tools.

After a brief break, Titi Robin walked out with no warning, no fanfare...just his trademark delicate lute-playing as we crowded quietly back into our seats. His guitar and lute were a curiously successful meld with Danyel Waro's ecstatic Maloya songs. Their collaboration was initially a project with Africolor, and by the end of Saturday night, even the usually sedate Parisian crowd was up & dancing.

Waro's a kind of figurehead of Reunion music. He went to jail back in the 70s for refusing to do his French military service (and in jail wrote a memoir Romans ├ękri dans la zol en Frans) and he sings entirely in creole Maloya--a language that was forbidden by the French colonists. Waro was backed by two spectacular Reunion drummers and singers, Vincent Phileas and Loran Dalo--check out our brief video (Francis Varis on accordeon, Pascal Stalin on electric bass) for a tiny taste of the night...

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