Saturday, February 7, 2015

Confluence - 1976 - 4 Voyages

4 Voyages

01. Dakka 5:25
02. Convergences 11:50
03. 4 Voyages 19:00

Cello [Violoncello] – Jean-Charles Capon
Contrabass – Didier Levallet
Drums, Percussion – Merzak Mouthana
Guitar – Christian Escoudé
Oboe [Hautbois], Cor Anglais, Flute, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Jean Querlier
Percussion – Armand Lemal

Quietly gorgeous French jazzy prog of a very airy, languid and spacious sort, often focused around the wistful cello work of Jean-Francois Capon, whose devastating outfit Baroque Jazz Trio recently had their one eponymous album reissued. One of France's great undiscovered treasures" is the surprisingly subdued description from mutant sounds of Arkham. I would say that it is actually chamber jazz, with a very well worked melding of chamber orchestra (a lot of violin, flute, cello, double bass) and jazz. Less rock is in this recipe. Unfortunately one of the jazz elements employed is the long tedious and boring jazz solo. I defy anyone to listen thru the last track without fastforward. This long "4 voyages" (through the sahara desert no doubt?) drags on quite too long before finishing in a gorgeous flute and violin passage using second notes on top of minor chords for that oh so plaintive effect. It is debatable whether the trip to that last 2 minutes was worth the wait.
I'll never understand why jazz musicians felt it was ok to throw in ten minutes of pointless, aimless soloing instead of taking the time to compose some actual music with structure and purpose. I mean live, it's OK since you're sitting there essentially with no choice to leave, but on an album it's unforgivably boring.

Anyways, having said that, it seems to be a live album on the basis of applause at the end of tracks. I think the composer is a genius, and obviously studied composition somewhere because his ideas are so interesting, the standout in 'songwriting' being the third track "convergences". So he could have, as in the chronique terrestres album, written more actual music versus improv.

These progressive musicians wrote a kind of music that has no rules, they use rock, jazz, and european classical in equal measure to create a whole that is perfectly harmonious and has no borders or styles. In my life I listened to modern classical, even Berg and Schoenberg, to jazz, to rock, and I feel like with this music I have come home, it has everything I have looked for in a lifetime of listening to music, all in one package. I hope you who enjoy this agree.
But when I come to work and on the radio I hear for the ten thousandth time "Signs signs everywhere there's signs" playing it fills me with despair at the human condition.
To return to Confluence, I think the next two albums are better than this one, esp. the final album appears to be the most accessible. A lot of the music in this one even I find a little hard going (almost atonal). At least it's not weirdly strange like the unobstructed universe I posted earlier.

On a personal note, I wish I could post more albums but time constraints are again a problem with wife returning to work as a spaceperson (astronaut) and two small children which I have a lot of trouble to get rid of. Surely when they finally go to school (1-2 years from now) I will devote more time to this "weird, weird strange hobby" (my wife's words) of sharing progressive albums from the seventies ("Long before I was born???" as my receptionist always says). A lot of people suggest to get a nanny but I wouldn't inflict these terrible, abnormal children, on any human being no matter how patient.

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