Thursday, February 18, 2016

Colette Magny - 1975 - Transit

Colette Magny

01. La Panade
02. Les Cages à Tigre
03. Ras La Trompe
04.1    Le Pachyderme   
04.2    Blues Ras La Trompe   
04.3    Radio Cornac   
04.4    Les Militants   
04.5    Finale   

Contrabass – Jean Bolcato
Drums – Christian Ville
Piano – Patrick Vollat, Rémy Gevron
Saxophone – Maurice Merle
Soprano Saxophone, Bass Clarinet – Louis Sclavis
Trumpet – Jean Mereu
Vocals, Guitar – Colette Magny

Legendary French avant garde/protest singer.She has collaborated with Raymond Boni,Michel Portal,Catherine Ribeiro,Un drame musical intantante,Didier Malherbe ,Andre Almuro amongst others.

"Colette Magny came first, (and has sadly died first) and was a massive influence on much French music to come. Beginning her career as a blues and folk singer, she became radicalized by the U.S. Civil Rights movement, the Nueva Canción musicians in South America, as well as the worldwide student revolt of that bygone era - you know the one. Her most astounding material is unapologetically violent, shocking, yet quite effective agit-prop accompanied by a heavy, romping jazzy rumpus.
I'm quite confused to see that the only Magny's album linked to the NWW list is Transit. Actually Colette Magny was some sort of politically involved blues/french chanson singer at the beginning of her career, but she soon evolved toward something much more experimental :
1° Feu et Rythme (Le Chant du Monde LDX 744 44)This is the most vanguard LP by far : There, the highlight is the two free jazz double bass players Beb Guerin and Barre Phillips (who on most tracks are the only musicians and who are well known to European free jazz listeners). Though the texts are quite well written, this album is the most appealling to the non French speaking part of the NWW audience, and in my opinion the musically most successful of all. The melody is not the backbone of this LP since Colette Magny experiments with her voice by reaching different levels of screams, monkey-like shoutings, putting the stress on the sound of harsh French words, and so on. On two tracks she's singing along an ensemble wich definitely gives a contemporary music feel to it.
I highly recommend this one to any vanguard music collector and especially to the NWW list addicted.
2° Repression (Le Chant du Monde LDX 74476)This one is somehow different from the previous one. On the flip side of the LP, Colette Magny still sings with Barre Phillips and Beb Guerin on double bass, but all tracks are much more structured though still kind of weird. On the A side, there's a complete change of personnal with the introduction of Bernard Vitet (Famous on the NWW list for his La Guepe LP on Futura), Francois Tusques (also famous for many entries on the NWW list such as Operation Rhino - Fete de Politique Hebdo, many sessions on Futura, and many other free jazz/experimental LP's). But despite all the expectations you could have, the music is basically a blues number (with a unique delivery style wich makes it quite different from regular blues numbers) with extremly violent political lyrics that sound dated nowadays.
This one is very nice, still weird but less experimental than the previous one.
3° Transit (Le Chant du Monde LDX 74570)This one is the one that seems to be pointed out by the NWW list. Actually this is the less experimental of all. You have a 3 minutes track filled with tape loops that is probably the closest work to the NWW music she has done. And this is probably the reason why this album is usually mentioned. The rest of the album is french chanson, wih some very nice vietnamese texts and poetry read, including a testimony of torture practiced in vietnamese jails during the 60's. The musicians here are from a band called The Free Jazz Workshop (one of the earliest recordings with French clarinettist Louis Sclavis) wich is, despite its name, not free jazz at all on this record. The record is globally speaking quite conventional and despite the 3 minutes tape loops very much dedicated to the French audience, not to the non French speaking audience.
To conclude :Transit is the one with a short track that is the most similar to Steve Stapelton's work.Repression is half a blues number half a demented LP with some of the best French and American free jazz musicians of this time.Feu et Rythme is definitely the one to get if you're in vanguard music. The whole record is breathtaking. I just can't figure out why this one is always missed when refered to NWW, since it all makes sense this is the most forward thinking one of all.
So you know what to do from now on.

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