Monday, November 6, 2017

Humair Jeanneau Texier - 1980 - Akagera

Humair Jeanneau Texier 

01. Akagera 2:15
02. Akagera II 4:15
03. Rampoon 5:25
04. Le Cyclope 4:50
05. Arfia 5:30
06. Maghreb De Canard 3:17
07. Mongol Fier 2:10
08. Nebbia 3:54
09. Le Gorille 2:20

Double Bass, Oud, Percussion – Henri Texier
Drums, Percussion, Performer [Syntoba] – Daniel Humair
Piano – Gordon Beck (tracks: B4)
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute, Lyricon – François Jeanneau

Recorded at studio CBS, October and November 1980.

Holy grail alert!!
This IS the 4th absolutely essential album by Henri Texier!
Written for a Gérard Vienne's film, the trio's music evolves in a middle eastern and african atmosphere emphasized by the use on some tracks of an oud and percussions. Le Cyclope is a great track mixing european improvisation, a frantic drumming and synthesizer texture.

Humair Jeanneau Texier - 1979 - Humair Jeanneau Texier

Humair Jeanneau Texier 
Humair Jeanneau Texier 

01. Fluctuations 6:07
02. Suite Eolienne 13:50
03. Bram Van Velde 8:52
04. Bas De Lou 5:12
05. Syotanka 4:40
06. Jackie-Ing 2:16

Double Bass – Henri Texier
Drums [Sonor], Cymbal [Zildjian] – Daniel Humair
Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Francois Jeanneau

Recorded in Paris at Studio Acousti March 21-22 & June 18, 1979.

Henri Texier - 1979 - A Cordes Et À Cris

Henri Texier 
A Cordes Et À Cris

01. Luce D'Alba 3:14
02. Kan Ar Labour 4:03
03. Libertad 4:24
04. A Cordes Et A Cris 3:00
05. Hocoka 3:48
06. Exode 2:00
07. Blues Urbain 6:08
08. Chemin De Vie 2:26
09. Mektoub 3:11

Contrabass, Oud, Flute, Percussion, Bass [Fender] – Henri Texier
Guitar: Aldo Romano (On 1)
Piano: Gordon Beck (On track 3)
Violoncello: Jean Charles Capon (On Track 8)
Violin: Didier Lockwood (On track 9)

Recorded: Studio Acousti (Jan-Feb 79)
except A1 at Studio Sysmo Records

A longtime fixture on the French jazz circuit and known for his work during the 60's and 70's opposite Don Cherry, Louis Sclavis and Didier Lockwood among other notables, bassist Henri Texier also had a sideline as a member of France's godhead folk prog merchants Total Issue back in the early 70's and the downy wistfulness and deep sweet soul ache that he nailed during his tenure in the outfit seems to have left a lasting impression, as his three solo missives that followed over the course of the 70's (this being his third) are all suffused with the same sort of profound beatific glow that he established with them. That said, the form of it's manifestation here is rather different from Total Issue's M.O., being principally concentrated on the emotive force of bass and voice, hewn through judicious multi-tracking into luxurious webs of pluck/bow motion through which Texier weaves breezy but emotionally weighty wordless vocalizations to dazzling effect.

Henri Texier - 1977 - Varech

Henri Texier 

01. Les "Là-bas"
02. Quand Le Blues S'en Ira
03. L'éléphant
04. Terre-Basse
05. Varech
06. Mr Donald Cerise
07. Angèle
08. L'écluse
09. L'ultime Danse

Contrabass, Oud, Flute, Bombarde, Bass [Fender], Percussion – Henri Texier

Recorded at Studio "SYSMO-RECORDS" Paris June 1977.

Henri Texier is an outstanding French bassist who has concentrated most of his activity in his native land. Born in Paris, Texier began his career at age 15 playing piano in nightclubs, but he soon switched to bass in order to play in the big band of Jef Gilson. That brought Texier into contact with drummer Daniel Humair, and together they developed one of the strongest rhythm sections working in France in the early '60s. Texier and Humair quickly found work backing up touring American artists, among them Bud Powell, Donald Byrd, Phil Woods, Dexter Gordon, and Chet Baker. By 1968, Texier and Humair had been joined by pianist Martial Solal, and the three collaborated on some pivotal recordings made with vacationing saxophonist Lee Konitz. Also in 1968, Texier formed the group European Rhythm Machine, which featured Woods, Humair, Gordon Beck, and George Gruntz.

In the '70s, Texier took time off to learn a number of additional instruments, including oud, flute, cello, and various types of percussion, and to develop his singing voice. Upon his return to full-time performance, Texier played in a number of ensembles, often with Louis Sclavis and drummer Aldo Romano. In 1986, Texier began a fruitful relationship with Label Bleu, which has released most of his work since then. In the early '90s, Texier's son Sebastian Texier joined on as reed player with his father's groups, often playing clarinet. North African motifs have played an important part in Texier's work since the mid-'90s and in 2001, Texier's trio began to tour Europe accompanying the practically silent 1970 Algerian film Remparts d'Argile.

Henri Texier has a strongly physical approach to the bass, although his tone is often described as "bell-like." American auditors may feel that Texier simply walks a crooked line between hard bop and free, but in France Texier has gained recognition for his work in developing a type of jazz that is uniquely French and not beholden to American models. In June 2001, Texier was made a Chevalier of the l'Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur, the highest honor the French government accords to its artists.

I've listened to this LP quite a lot for the last past months. and i'm still amazed by its musical quality. This is a Jazz LP but not your common urban swing or Jazz/Funk extravaganza, can i describe it ? Let's say modal intimate groove with a rural inclination and occasional wordless vocals.
"Varech" is the second Henri Texier solo album, and when i say solo, i mean solo. Texier is alone on this one and plays all the instruments (Double-bass, Oud, Flute, Bombard, Fender-bass and Percussions) using the rerecording technique. This second solo effort is very similar to its first one, "Amir"

If you are into french Jazz, Bass oriented records or simply men with beard...This is surely one for you !
Oh yes, "Varech" was briefly available on CD about ten years ago but has been deleted and is now unavailable.

Henri Texier - 1976 - Amir

Henri Texier 

01. Amir 4:20
02. Le Sage, Le Singe Et Les Petits Enfants 7:53
Le Sage
Le Singe
Les Petits Enfants
03. Hommage 4:05
04. Le Piroguier 4:20
05. Homme Rouge 5:21
06. Les Korrigans 5:15
07. Quand Tout S'Arrête 1:30

Double Bass, Viola, Oud, Flute, Percussion, Piano, Arranged By – Henri Texier

Recorded Nov 75 - Feb 76

The debut album from French jazz double bassist Henri Texier, who has worked with Don Cherry, Bud Powell, Donald Byrd, Chet Baker, and Total Issue, and co-founded the Transatlantik Quartet and European Rhythm Machine. Amir is spare and stark, vibrating and volatile with unrealized possibility, slightly sinister and about to burst at the seams. Long stretches of double bass drone, lyricless vocal chants (Texier’s voice sounds an awful lot like a string instrument), and a few brief forays into free-jazz, moments at which the record threatens to break apart. Texier on double bass, viola, oud, flute, percussion, piano, and vocals. Unsettling dinner-eating music.

This is the debut solo release from French, self taught Jazz Double Bassist Henry Texier, who usually performed as a session player for artists such as Don Cherry, Phil Woods and Bud Powell, however, 'Amir' is something totally different from what these names might usually conjure up for us in our imaginations.
From the moment you drop the needle on this record, you can recognize you are hearing something vastly unique and with its own sense of voice and identity.

The simplicity of the combinations here, capturing perfectly Texier's sublime bass playing and the ethereal multi layered vocal intonations which sound as though they were carried on a desert wind to our ears. Sounds that are as old as time. That is what is so endearing about Texier's music. The space and the environment which he is able to create around the listener. Something agrarian and pastoral. Something untamed and yet deeply equanimous.

These minimal arrangements comprise of Texier's vocal incantations, which are wordless, but rather a series of 'da da da di di da da's ' that follow a counter melody to the steady rhythmic pulses of a bounding bass which dances playfully with an ancient sounding Oud and some sparse hand percussion in the form of a shaker or hand clapping. Occasionally accompanied by an Ocarina, which again gives 'Amir' a sense of primitive and ancient earthiness. 
For lack of a better description, 'Amir' is quite a 'spiritual' and almost 'transcendental' listening experience and for it to be labelled simply "jazz" is almost a crime. This is a mix of new age, minimalism, Avant-Guard, Raga and something completely else. Something without precedence. 

Its a surprise that Texier is not more well known considering all the support credits he has acquired over the years ontop of being made a Chevalier of the l'Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur in 2001, the highest honor the French government accords to its artists. 

Though not easy to find as it was only pressed a couple of times on a small French label, both this and his follow up solo record 'Varech' which is on par with 'Amir', is well worth your time to explore. 
'Amir' is simply stunning.

Post-bop jazz with heavy drone influence - likely drawn from Indian folk (I'm detecting a lot of Qawwali in these recordings). The title track almost reminds me of Iron and Wine's "On Your Wings" in the insistence of the rhythm and vocals, but "Amir" is more sensual and complex, its guitar solo evoking the aforementioned Eastern influences. As a mood-setter it's first-rate stuff.

"Le sage, le singe, et les petits enfants" sets the stage for the rest of the record, building on the tone of the first song for its first 4+ minutes before breaking down into a free jazz freakout that reassembles into a more traditional bop passage to close out the track. "Hommage" is a solo bass improvisation piece that shows Texier experimenting with the textures of his instrument.

"Le piroguier" has an interesting vocal chant and awesome stand-up bass work from Texier, but doesn't really go anywhere. "Homme rouge" sees Texier switch to electric bass to further display his chops, and the results are akin to something Pink Floyd might've put out around the same time (or perhaps an outtake from Starless and Bible Black); however, to my ears the incantations Texier arranges as vocal melodies undercut the dark atmosphere that the instrumental passages build. Ah, well.

"Les korrigans" is the moment on the record when it really hits you that this might just be some hippy-dippy free-improv bullshit, Texier unleashes a bass solo so accomplished you wonder why he bothers making such atmospheric, drone-y music when he's more than capable of holding his own with Don Cherry and the other free jazz fire-breathers of the era. The moment at the end of the solo when the cello comes in beneath it is truly inspired, leading to a coda that combines those hippy-dippy free-improv bullshit elements with the fire of his bass work and makes you realize, "Oh, there was a plan all along."

The album's actual coda, "Quand tout s'arrete," is sort of a reminder that this whole thing was built on the chanting vocals, which is also why this is getting 3.5 stars instead of 4: I can respect a lot of the work here from both a composition and musician-standpoint, but I don't find myself returning to anything other than maybe the first two tracks very often. There's a lot of great ideas here, but I'm not sure if any of it is worth the trouble of tracking down a copy.