Monday, October 25, 2004

Trio Grande + Ananke - 21/10/2004

The Botanique's cozy yet sightline-challenged brick-pillar-arches basement club/bar has been renamed Witloof (pronounced witloaf) Bar. Why? The smell of casually-smoked marijuana floated through the air and sent me dreaming of a fantasy-land of smoke-deprived concerts.

Ananke: three endearingly dopey-looking kids and an equally young but less dopey saxophonist making music that is an improbable mix of AKA Moon and l'Ame des Poètes. In other words, drums, bass and keyboards laid down complex, poly-everything funk/rock/kinda jazz rhythms and fusion-type whole-band unisons, while keeping the improvisations very melodic, almost sing-songy and very focused within strict, shifting arrangements. Highlights: AKA Moon salsa and a keyboard intro with excellent use of the different available (strike-strength dependent?) timbres.

Listen to the music at

Trio Grande: Michel Debrulle on drums and Michel Massot on tuba/euphonium/trombone + another musician. In the '80s it was Fabrizio Cassol, in the '90s and early '00s another saxophonist, Laurent Dehors, and now it's a younger guitarist, Benoist Eil. His name reminds you that circonflex accents replace an ancestral s.

The fantabulous repertoire of Massot and Debrulle songs that fueled the 2001 album Signé is still in circulation, but totally different. The concert with Dehors I saw 2-3 years ago was a barrelling, irresistibly dancey free-jazz affair, whereas this concert was far more subdued, yet still intense. Debrulle plays a kind of loose'n'dirty funk/rock, Massot blows both crazy dijeridoo overtones and delicate bluesy half-valve effects and Eil brought a disrupting, free-rock/punk element, but at low volume. I don't know if it's his tuning, but every note managed to sound dissonant, in a cool way. On the last song of the set, he took his banjo and played an unaccompanied intro that started out with pointillistic noise, then moved to a blend of bluegrass and raga. Debrulle and Massot (on trombone) joined in and they started playing quasi-country music.

It had been so long, I'd forgotten that Trio Grande was one of my favourite Belgian jazz bands. No recordings of the new line-up yet and it's difficult to isolate something from this fantastic album (go get it!) but here's a little something from Signé so funky you won't notice the 7/4, especially as Dehors takes it back to essentials for his solo (a pitch, a timbre):

MP3 Trio Grande "Griffure de Cestin"