Reviews that mention Éric Échampard

February 11, 2018

Atlantique Jazz Festival 14

Brest, France October 10 to October 14, 2017
By Ken Waxman

Did the first Black American music heard in France arrive with the African-American troops of the American Expeditionary Force, who landed in the port city of Brest in 1917?

This thesis is the basis of Nicolas Nogue’s film Quand le jazz débarque/Sammies in Brest, which was shown to a sold-out house at the mammoth Le Quartz theatre on October 12 as part of Brest’s 14th annual Atlantique Jazz Festival (AJF). While a syncopated score by pianist Christofer Bjurström mixed with appropriately descriptive noises from Vincent Raude’s electronics accentuated the silent archival newsreels, the few shots of soldiers singing or dancing didn’t make much of a case for jazz’s dissemination in France. More credible Yank-Gallic jazz admixtures were live festival performances by several American musicians who exhibited a profound rapprochement with their French counterparts. MORE

February 11, 2015

Orchestre National de Jazz

Europa Paris
On Jazz Records 24444

Taking France’s prestigious Orchestre National de Jazz (ONJ) in a new direction, plus dealing with a complete change in personnel, is the ONJ’s new artistic director, composer and guitarist Olivier Benoit. Know for experimental small group work as well as writing for and sometimes playing as part of large ensembles such as La Pieuvre and Circum Grand Orchestra, Benoit is certainly no one to pursue a course of reinterpreting so-called Jazz classics. This sprawling six-part, two-CD magnum opus demonstrates this handily. Ambitious, Europa Paris is designed to paint a sonic portrait of the city of light via the solo and interactive skills of the 11-mmber ensemble. MORE

August 1, 2014

Festival Report

Jazzdor-Strasbourg-Berlin 2014
By Ken Waxman

The KulturBrauerei’s music space Kesselhaus in East Berlin was a fitting site for the eighth annual Jazzdor-Strasbourg-Berlin (JSB) festival June 3-6. With jazz and improvised music’s universality now a given, a festival presenting mostly French jazz taking place in what had been one of Berlin’s oldest breweries, now repurposed from industrial to artistic use, doesn’t seem that much of a stretch.

Overall its all-inclusive musical theme was confirmed by the programming of JSB’s artistic director Philippe Ochem and his team, which already host Strasbourg’s annual Jazzdor festival. Over four nights, JSB presented musician from different parts of Germany, Belgium and the US plus proudly delineated Basque and Corsican players, all of whom worked with improvisers from France’s major musical centres. MORE

January 8, 2014

Festival Report

Festival Jazzdor Strasbourg
By Ken Waxman

A mercantile and European Union government centre, Strasbourg is a sophisticated French city with a large university, massive fortifications, picturesque canals and a renowned cathedral. Although La Marseillaise was composed and first sung in Strasbourg it’s also part of Alsace which was ceded to Germany from 1871-1918 and 1940-1944. Overcoming this historical enmity, for the past 11 years Festival Jazzdor has included a series of concerts in the nearby German city of Offenburg.

This year’s festival (November 8 to 22) was no different. One of its highlights was Günter Baby Sommer’s Bopp-Art Percussions in Offenburg’s Reithalle in Kulturforum. Featuring the veteran drummer’s quartet of saxophonist Frank-Paul Schubert, trombonist Gerhard Gschlößle and bassist Antonio Borghini, it matched their fiery blistering improvisations with a three-man Taiko ensemble plus Katharina Hilpert’s ethic and traditional flutes which bridged the two solitudes. Although the white blouses worn by the percussionists made them look like chefs, their massive drums and gongs resonations merely spiced the program with the Sommer four which provided the main meal. The several courses included traditional Saxon marches, slinky set pieces and experimental excursions where the horns injected gospel-like and Dixieland inflections emotions into frenetic line deconstruction. Prominent were tunes such as Like Don” and “Art Goes Japan”, which honored Sommer’s heroes Don Cherry and Art Blakey. The former featured a Schubert reimaging of a Cherry head, while the dynamism of the latter was maintained as the bearded, diminutive drummer put an individualist stamp on many of Blakey’s distinctive runs. MORE

November 6, 2012

Festival Report

Jazz Brugge 2012
By Ken Waxman

When a festival like Jazz Brugge 2012 takes place in a Belgium town, designated by UNESCO World Heritage for its picturesque canals and loving preserved medieval buildings, a certain amount of time and space dislocation can be expected. Considering that concerts (October 4 to 7) took place in the attic performance space of the 12th century Sint-Janshospitaal museum or in a massive or a smaller hall of the four-seating tier Concertgebouw, purpose built in 2002, this time-shifting continued. Additionally, three of the most insightful performances melded celebration of art from earlier century with perceptive improvisations. MORE

January 26, 2004


The sublime and. Sciencefrictionlive
Thirsty Ear RHI 57139.2

Qui parle?
Sketch SKE 333038

Leaving well enough alone has never had particular appeal to those involved in creating electrified jazz/rock fusion music. Why keep the volume control knob turned to nine when it can reach 10? And why play for a few minutes when a half-hour or so is available?

Alto saxophonist/composer Tim Berne -- who has proven his talents in many situations ranging from working in standard-size jazz combos to writing for a classical sax quartet -- flirts with excess on this two-CD set, recorded live in Switzerland. While he and drummer Tom Rainey stick to acoustic instruments, the allure of showing off the textures available from Marc Ducret’s guitar(s) and effects and Craig Taborn’s electric piano, laptop computer and virtual organ evidentially prove too seductive. Although in total the Science Friction band session clocks in at 109 minutes, it includes three tunes in the 20-minute range and one that rocks on for more than 30. MORE