With track titles translating to Song For The Devil and The Witches, Francois Tusques’ rarest commercially released LP casts an early stylistic premonition of the vampire themed improvised soundtracks recorded for director Jean Rollin merely months after its release. Assembling the very same group of musical sorcerers this albums personnel (featuring, amongst others, soprano saxophonist Barney Wilen) reads like a who’s who of France’s early improvised music/free jazz scene resulting in a wholly unique European flavour while preserving the essence of other global inter communal travellers such as Don Cherry and Krzysztof Komeda.
Originally extracted from three separate recording sessions in early 1967, Le Nouveau Jazz opens with themes conjured up for the short film Coda by French jazz documentarist Marc Pauly highlighting the composers adept ability in his multi-disciplined art further aligning him with the aforementioned pioneers. The rest of the album combines frenzied macabre picture music (akin to Detroit’s Wendell Harrison) and emotive piano improvisations (Mal Waldron anyone?) with the sui generis inclusion of a double double bass formation courtesy of Bernard “Beb” Guerin (Sonny Sharrock/Kühn Brothers) and Jean-Francois Jenny Clarke (Enrico Rava/Giorgio Gaslini). As Tusques’ second official album (after the seldom sighted Free Jazz from 1965) this LP expands on this important French musicians vision and follows up Cacophonic’s repress of his mega rare Don Cherry art installation collaboration from 1964 this time introducing extra rhythmic arrangements courtesy of Italian drummer Aldo Romano (Robin Kenyatta).
Housed in the elegant original Witches artwork sleeve by comic illustrator Jean Vern with French liner notes by French psychiatry/beat poet/crime fiction writer Yves Buin this worthy reissue hopes to find a unique uninhabited part of your collection from an era that changed the Parisian underground prior to the important developments of labels like BYG Actuel and Futura Records in the early 1970s.
supported by 6 fans who also own “Le Nouveau Jazz”
The guitarists first solo album (like the actors first Hamlet) is a hoop that eventually has to be jumped through...and Mary Halvorson has finally risen to the challenge...a truly brilliant improviser and technician (I remember being knocked out by a performance she gave with Anthony Braxton in London),she has added layers of emotional and spiritual patina to those skills...the pre-release track here demonstrates all those qualities in spades...I see this release will include work by Noel Akchote (whose music plays a key part in my listening regime)...
So,until its release "I eat the air,promise crammed"...
Update! This album is now released and I can "count myself King of infinite riches"...this release catapults Mary Halvorson into a different league for me...wonderful,wonderful,wonderful! John Cratchley