Reviews that mention John Betsch

March 26, 2017

Michel Edelin’s Flute Fever Orchestra

RogueArt ROG-0070

Disdained and denigrated for its aviary-like peeping after becoming common in Jazz circles during the 1950s, the flute’s Clark Kent-reputation still lingers even after outliers like Rahsaaan Roland Kirk and James Newton demonstrated that it was also capable of Superman-like feats of strength. But a more profound manifestation of the traverse instrument’s adaptability comes from flautist’s Michel Edelin’s Paris-based Flute Fever Orchestra (FFO). Besides the leader, bassist Peter Giron and drummer John Betsch, the regular members are two more flutists: Sylvaine Hélary and Ludivine Issambourg with American flutist Nicole Mitchell making a special guest appearance on this two-CD set. Augmented to Justice League of America-like capacity, the FFO uses instruments of various sizes, shapes and pitches alone or in groups to provide a blockbuster-like run-through of flute powers on The Song of the Mad Faun. Like a spin off from a popular superhero epic, Domus, the affiliated other CD, has Edelin performing superhero-like solo flute feats. MORE

July 29, 2009

Michel Edelin Trio

Rogueart Rog-0019

Naming his CD for a Bantu word that describes the relationship among life elements, veteran French flautist Michel Edelin tweaks his lungfuls of air and embouchure so that the prissiness associated with his legit transverse instruments isn’t even imagined

Edelin, who over the years has led his own band and worked with advanced mainstream players ranging from drummer Daniel Humair to alto saxophonist Steve Potts, exhibits absolute control of the flute, alto flute and bass flute he manipulates on this CD. Plus he’s partnered by one of the most confident and experienced rhythm sections in Europe: bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel and drummer John Betsch, both of whom backed soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy until his death in 2004. MORE

July 2, 2008

Steve Lacy-Roswell Rudd Quartet

Early and Late
Cuneiform Records Rune 250/251

Slightly deceptively titled this memorable two-CD set celebrates the four-decades-long collaboration between trombonist Roswell Rudd and soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy. The title is ambiguous because while four tracks are by the legendary 1962 Lacy-Rudd quartet, the remaining nine showcase the reconstituted partnership late (1999) and very late (2002) in its tenure – Lacy died in 2004.

Overall the quartet – featuring bassist Bob Cunningham and drummer Dennis Charles in 1962 and bassist Jean- Jacques Avenel and drummer John Betsch later on – performs the timeless repertoire that characterized Lacy-Rudd meetings in the intervening years: single lines by Cecil Taylor, Herbie Nichols and Rudd plus five originals by Lacy and a large helping of Thelonious Monk’s music, which the two championed years before its adoption by the repertory movement. MORE

January 26, 2004


The Journey
Downtown Sound DS 1002

First -- and best-known -- of the many expatriate, anti-Apartheid South African jazz musicians -- Duke Ellington sponsored his first LP in 1963 -- Abdullah Ibrahim, then Dollar Brand, gradually adapted a more ethic identity when he became a known quantity in the jazz firmament. As evidence, here’s an LP-length reissue of his 1978 Alice Tully Hall concert. On it he uses both his birth and Muslim names to show his mature music was an mixture of Townships, Arabic, traditional and new jazz influences. MORE

January 19, 2004


The Beat Suite
Sunnyside/Enja SSC 3012

Unquenchable Fire
Deep Listening DL 19-2003

Blending music and texts -- either poetry or prose -- has never been a particularly easy task, especially when the music involved is improvised. Yet for the past 50 years at least, variations of the concept have been tried with various degrees of success.

Among his other sonic inquiries, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy has turned his hand to text-based material for many years; he has been able to utilize the voice of his partner Irene Aebi as his speaker/vocalist since the late 1960s. THE BEAT SUITE is his most recent grapple with the concept -- and one that is particularly apt. The words, which intermingle with the music here, were written by 10 of the most accomplished Beat versifiers. All had or have an affinity for improvised music and most were known personally by either Lacy or Abei. MORE

December 22, 2003


The Holy la
Sunnyside SSC 1120

Definitely not a misprint for the common expression “the Holy Land”, this fine trio CD takes its name from something held even more sacred by musicians: “la”, the pitch to which all instruments are almost always tuned.

During the course of these nine tracks, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy and his associates also prove that they can do just anything they want with any variations of “la” and the other degrees of the scale most famously celebrated by Rodgers and Hammerstein in the song “Do-Re-Mi”. MORE

May 10, 2002


Live In Berlin
Soul Note SN 120069-2

Listening to this disc almost 20 years after it was recorded in a Berlin concert you can hear how much pianist Marilyn Crispell has changed -- and remained the same -- since that time.

Very much a product of the epoch, the band is performing a version of energy music, not unlike that practiced by tenor saxophonist John Coltrane’s quartet -- one of her acknowledged influences -- with Crispell in the McCoy Tyner or Alice Coltrane role and violinist Billy Bang taking on the Trane mantle. At the same time, having a violin as a solo voice brings up memories of those groups featuring fiddlers like Ramsey Ameen and Leroy Jenkins and led by Cecil Taylor, another Crispell totem. MORE