Tag Archives: Benjamin Duboc

Jazz.pt review by Nuno Catarino

CF 254The Fish – Moon Fish (CF 254)
Classificação: 4/5
Ligado às correntes da improvisação reducionista, o saxofonista Jean-Luc Guionnet tem desenvolvido trabalho em paralelo no free jazz mais bruto. Com o grupo The Ames Room editou recentemente, também na Clean Feed, um outro disco em formato trio que explorava esse universo – “Bird Dies”, uma faixa única de quase 50 minutos de portentosa exploração sonora.   Tal como acontece nesse trio com Clayton Thomas e Will Guthrie, nestes The Fish o saxofonista segue numa linha de free clássico, apresentando um som forte, assente pura e simplesmente na improvisação.   Nesta formação exclusivamente francesa, Guionnet tem como parceiros Benjamin Duboc e Edward Perraud (um dos seus colegas no quinteto “near-silence” Hubbub). Gravado ao vivo no Fundão, este disco divide-se em três temas (de cerca de 16, 18 e 6 minutos), nos quais se expõe a fisicalidade impetuosa da sua música.   Não há aqui qualquer subtileza ou contenção – quem quiser ouvir Guionnet e Perraud nesses registos deve seguir directo para o trabalho dos Hubbub ou para outros projectos paralelos.   O que aqui se ouve é música feroz, ríspida e árida: saxofone em permanente desafio, contrabaixo e bateria em constante propulsão. Rugosa, tumultuosa, vibrante, conflituosa, incandescente, esta música não pede licença para rasgar. Isto é nervo, isto queima.

JazzWord review by Ken Waxman

CF 254The Fish – Moon Fish (CF 254)
Thomas Tilly & Jean-Luc Guionnet – Stones Air Axioms
Jean-Luc Guionnet may not be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but the opposing musical personalities he reveals on these and in other situations suggests this duality – at least in a sonic sense. Paris-based and a members of the microtonal Hubbub quintet – hm, we could be getting into Three Faces of Eve territory here – on his own Guionnet can be the very epitome of the go-for-broke hard blowing Free Jazz saxophonist, as he demonstrates on Moon Fish. However his other persona is that of a composer/performer of New music.

Stones Air Axioms captures this role. Trained as an organist, Guionnet, together with Thomas Tilly, a specialist in site-specific sound installations, mapped out the spatial qualities of St. Pierre Cathedral in Poitiers. This on-site metric measurement later allowed the two to merge textures generated by Guionnet improvising on two scores simultaneously played on the cathedral’s pipe organ, while a white-noise sine-waver generator captured the standing wave form retorts that bounced off massive stone walls of the edifice’s cruciform structure. Reconstituted with studio wizardry into four sections, dealing with one aspect of the relation between sound and architecture, the filtered timbres were expanded to encompass the sonority of the empty building.

In all honesty for the layperson, the differences among sections aren’t that pronounced. Throughout as the concentrated textures are propelled from flat-line quivers to resounding crashes and multiphonic drones, the layered results don’t necessarily appear to reflect air and stone as much as approximate machine-generated tones. Only on “SAA3” does the previous seemingly impenetrable thudding response separate enough to reveal spiraling timbres and whistling tremolos that can be attributed to the organ itself. These interludes are brief however. Most of the time crackling static layered with watery laps against indistinct objects, create a result so tonally solid that any variations are infinitesimal. Without formal beginning and end there also appears to be no climax or finale. However scrapes, shuffles and a motion undercurrent are layered into the variants of phase, speed and volume already exposed.

Significant perhaps as an electro-acoustic exercise, Stones Air Axioms lacks the raw emotion that animates Moon Fish. With Guionnet are fellow Hubbuber Edward Perraud on drums, plus Benjamin Duboc, one of France’s most accomplished bassists, who works in similar configurations with other adventurous reed plays like Daunik Lazro. Recorded live in Fundão, the three selections are as close to Energy Music as you can hear in the 21st Century.

Like saxophonists such as Peter Brötzmann and Charles Gayle, Guionnet seems to put the horn in his mouth and blow and blow until he stops. The comparisons to Gayle and Brötz are apt as well, for while the reedist is listed as playing alto saxophone his frenetic tone extensions frequently dip into the tenor register. Evocatively the first two selections are actually one of a piece with the third an encore. Throughout Perraud’s cymbal shatters plus knocks, rolls and rebounds evolve at the same febrile pace as the saxophonist’s reed-shattering lines. With the two often threatening to push the entire performance past the point of no return, it’s Duboc’s thick pumps and scrubs, as well as one suspects, sheer force of will, that moors the others to terra firma. Exhilarating in his improvising that’s staccato, shrieking splintered and spluttering all at the same time, Guionnet doesn’t ignore any extended technique from flutter-tonguing to split tones. Renal cries and pressurized growls are repeated over and over again until the bassist’s solid thump signals the end.

Although the trio appears to pick up where it left off, “Moon Fish 3” is superior to the previous tracks. More cooperative and with more brevity and balance, space is made for a couple of upfront stentorian sound extensions from the bassist as well as a finale of rumbles, pops and flams from the drummer. Mixing bugle-like spetrofluctuation with dips into his horn’s lowest register, the saxophonist piles notes upon note, phrase open phrase, then splinters and splays what he’s created. Although it could be that the “William Tell Overture” is alluded to for a brief sequence, the staccato cries are all his.

For sonic excitement at the same level as a pioneering New Thing session Moon Fish can’t be beat, however the more scholarly committed to that sort of sound may prefer Stones Air Axioms. Whichever is chosen the fact that’s obvious is that Guionnet has made his mark on contemporary improvised music. Of course which of his playing stances is Dr. Jekyll and which is Mr. Hyde depends on your musical orientation.

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

The Fish – Moon Fish (CF 254)
In many ways at many times so-called “free jazz” depends for its success on inspiration and inventive commitment on the part of the musicians involved. If they are without a certain amount of “juice” and a certain level of ideas, it can be a little like the cartoon image of a hippopotamus taking a high dive into a much-too-small tub of water. Ouch!   I bring this up because today’s CD is just the opposite of this kind of lack. We have the trio known as the Fish doing a three-part improvisation on their recent CD Moon Fish (Clean Feed 254). They are filled with the inspiration of the muses for this one, tumbling their way through some kicking free space.   This is a well-matched European outfit of Jean-Luc Guionnet, alto, Benjamin Duboc on contrabass (who we’ve encountered rather often in good settings both here and on the guitar-bass blog), and Edward Perraud on drums.   They are supercharged and wail their way through this set, Guionnet sometimes worrying a phrase a la “Sunship,” more often proceeding in a linear way through phrases that blaze; Duboc creating forceful counter-onslaughts and digging in for a continuously thrumming energy foundation; Perraud feeling the spirit and busily pushing his kit to the barrage limits.   It’s the wild and crazy kind of freedom we have on this one, continuous, energized, on fire and beautifully frenetic. Nice one.

Blow Up Magazine review by Enrico Bettinello

Hairybones Snakelust (CF 252)
Platform 1 Takes Off (CF 255)
The Fish Moon Fish (CF 254)
Instancabili gli alfieri dell’avant/jazz, di ogni latitudine. Prontissima come sempre la portoghese Clean Feed  a documentarli, come in questo trittico che farà certamente ingolosire gli appassionati.

Gli Hairybones di Peter Brötzmann innanzitutto, impegnati in una lunga suite dedicata allo scrittore giapponese Kenji Nakagami: il quartetto, completato dalla tomba e elettronica di Toshinori Kondo, dal basso di Massimo Pupillo [Zu] e dalla batteria di Paal Nilssen-Love [The Thing] è una vera e propria macchina da guerra, un muro di intenzione sonora [anche quando uno dei componenti viene lasciato a monologare, come nello splendido interludio di Brötzmann dopo circa un quarto d’ora dall’inizio]. I fan apprezzeranno, astenersi nervi fragili.

Ottimo anche l’ennesimo nuovo progetto di Ken Vandermark, ormai stabilmente proiettato sugli incroci tra musicisti americani e europei: il quintetto Platform 1 si pregia di uno dei migliori e più sottovalutati tromboni in circolazione, Steve Swell, della tromba di Magnos Broo [Atomic] e della intensa coppia ritmica formata da Michael Vatcher e Joe Williamson, entrambi musicisti che dagli States si sono trasferiti in Europa. I temi sono firmati da ciascuno dei componenti e questo garantisce una bella varietà di approcci e di situazioni, da quelle più astratte e impalpabili [Stations di Vandermark] a quelle più ruspanti come Compromising Emanations di Swell. Grande dinamismo e splendida musica, sebbene nel solco di sintesi post-free tipico di Vandermark.

Viene invece dalla Francia il trio The Fish, che già si era fatto apprezzare qualche anno fa con un bel live per la Ayler Records. Il contralto di Jean-Luc Guionnet, il basso di Benjamin Duboc e Edward Perraud si rifanno apertamente alla ormai lunga tradizione dell’improvvisazione libera e torrenziale, sebbene giocata con grande abilità. Nulla di nuovo, ma un trio che se vi capita dal vivo, non è da mancare.

Bodyspace review by Nuno Catarino

The Fish  – Moon Fish (CF 254)
Free jazz bruto, bem bom.
Habitualmente ligado às correntes de improvisação reducionista, o saxofonista Jean-Luc Guionnet tem desenvolvido em paralelo trabalho numa linha de free jazz mais bruto. Com o grupo The Ames Room editou recentemente, também na Clean Feed, um outro disco em formato trio que explorava esse universo – Bird Dies, uma faixa única de quase cinquenta minutos de portentosa exploração sonora.   Tal como acontece no trio The Ames Room, onde colabora com Clayton Thomas e Will Guthrie, nestes The Fish o saxofonista segue numa linha de free jazz clássico, apresentando um som forte, assente pura e simplesmente na improvisação. Nestes The Fish, trio exclusivamente francês, Guionnet tem como parceiros Benjamin Duboc no contrabaixo e Edward Perraud na bateria (um dos seus colegas de grupo no quinteto “near-silence” Hubbub).   Gravado ao vivo no Fundão, a música este disco divide-se em três temas (de cerca de 16, 18 e 6 minutos), onde o trio expõe a fisicalidade impetuosa da sua música. Não há aqui qualquer subtileza ou contenção – quem quiser ouvir Guionnet e Perraud nesses registos deve seguir directo para o trabalho dos Hubbub ou projectos paralelos. O que aqui se ouve é música feroz, ríspida e árida: saxofone em permanente desafio, contrabaixo e bateria em constante propulsão. Rugosa, tumultuosa, vibrante, conflutuosa, incandescente, esta música não pede licença para rasgar. Isto é nervo, isto queima.

Tomajazz review Pachi Tapiz

The Fish – Moon Fish (CF 254)
Sin llegar a la crudeza de The Ames Room y su monolítica propuesta en The Bird Dies, el trío The Fish (en el que también participa el saxofonista alto francés Jean-Luc Guionnet) guarda algunos puntos en común con ese trío. En ambos casos estamos ante una propuesta de free jazz improvisado, aunque en Moon Fish la música pasa por fases de distinta intensidad. Los tres músicos de The Fish no buscan únicamente ir hacia adelante a toda costa, a toda velocidad, a plena energía, sino que saben buscar huecos en los que encontrar cierta calma para tomar un nuevos impulso, espacios en los que dialogar con sus compañeros, huecos para las melodías e incluso para un cierto groove.

Time Out Lisboa review by Jose Carlos Fernandes

The Fish – Moonfish (CF 254)
Três faixas, 43 minutos, nem um segundo de tréguas. Jean Luc Guionnet (sax), Benjamin Duboc (contrabaixo) e Edward Perraud (bateria) permitem, aqui e ali, uma breve diminuição da densidade – não da tensão – mas logo regressa o torvelinho furioso, cuja obstinação se aproxima por vezes da insanidade. É o frenesim do free jazz actualizado para o séc. XXI: ácido, adstringente e com uma rítmica mais coesa e implacável.

Se esta música fosse um peixe seria o venenoso fugu, aquela iguaria japonesa que por vezes envia uns comensais para o outro mundo. Que este peixe tenha sido pescado num concerto ao vivo no Fundão, e não em Tóquio ou Nova Iorque, testemunha que o mundo passa por curiosas mudanças e que nem tudo na globalização é tão mau como se faz crer.

Le Son du Grisli review by Luc Bouquet

The Fish – Moon Fish (CF 254)
On reconnait The Fish à sa transe continue. Pour Jean-Luc Guionnet, Benjamin Duboc et Edward Perraud, le fil ne doit jamais rompre, la tension ne doit jamais retomber. Et si modulation il y a, elle ne peut s’entretenir que dans le crescendo et, seulement, dans le crescendo.   Donc : ne pas dévier mais s’autoriser quelques suspension (duos, solo) avant la reprise des hostilités. Et dans chaque cas de figure, faire de ces courts passages en duo (le solo de batterie n’est là que pour conclure la troisième improvisation) un tremplin vers de nouvelles attaques soniques. Et, toujours, répéter le motif, ce dernier s’arrachant à sa solitude quand l’un ou l’autre se charge d’en faire écho ou unisson. Ici, trois improvisations (la dernière ne semblant pas couvrir son intégralité) aux fureurs intenses, soutenues. Remarquable à nouveau.

The Wire review by Stuart Broomer

The Ames Room – Bird Dies (CF 231)
There’s an intriguing contradiction offered in the slim verbal materials that accompany this CD. The band name “Ames Room” refers to the asymmetrical room with a horizon line often used in film to create optical illusions, making two things of the same size appear very different in scale or creating the effect of a ball rolling uphill. Contrary to those illusions, the title Bird Dies is grim contradiction to the old jazz sentiment, “Bird Lives.” Put them together and you may sense the different perspective that the trio of alto saxophonist Jean-Luc Guionnet, bassist Clayton Thomas and drummer Will Guthrie bring to jazz—insistently in the moment, time-loaded and  (almost) history-free, a music with few allusions in which the group has left illusions in its name. This is among the most consistently intense performances I can recall hearing, consistent in the sense that a sauce might be, intense in the sense of a beating. The single track—yes, Bird Dies—is 46 minutes long and it begins with Guionnet chewing up and spitting out short phrases, varying them incrementally, repeating the same process with another phrase, and doing it with the efficiency and timbre (and sometimes the pitch range) of a circular saw or wood chipper, while Clayton pumps out an insistent pulse and Guthrie creates an endless rebar knit-work of shifting and broken drum rhythms. The phrases and the rhythms change and sometimes the sound thins out—Guthrie goes down to a light rattle or moves around his kit or mounts a particularly violent barrage, Guionnet reduces the line to one or two squawks and actually stops playing for about forty seconds around the half-hour mark whether to regroup or highlight Clayton playing a scale in polyrythmic lock-step with Guthrie. However, the sense of a single extraordinary utterance remains, exhausting and also liberating, its time experienced both insistently and microscopically.

The New York City Jazz Record review by Stuart Broomer

Afterfall – Afterfall (CF 208 )
Afterfall is an international quintet consisting of Portuguese (guitarist Luis Lopes and trumpeter Sei Miguel), American (tenor and soprano saxophonist Joe Giardullo and drummer Harvey Sorgen) and French (bassist Benjamin Duboc) musicians. Their first meeting in a Lisbon studio is documented here. The methodology is free improvisation, but as the instrumentation suggests, there are strong free jazz elements at work here in both the roles and the textures the band favors, from the Cool-era sound of Miguel’s pocket trumpet – always muted and played in the middle-register – to the vocalic wails of Giardullo’s saxophones. The band is both genuinely collective and spacious, with a shared willingness to let ideas develop in their own time. There’s a certain transparency in the band’s music, with one musician’s voice passing through another’s. Most interesting are microscopic, granular bits of sound that abound here, sometimes ultimately traceable to Sorgen’s subtle cymbal and snare work, but more often to Lopes’ thoroughly electronic conception of the guitar. His gritty waves of barely audible sound contribute much to shape the textures prevalent here and when he takes the lead he has a sense of sonic play that extends from the glassy quarter-tones of the opening “Shut Up Goddess” to the sustained feedback on “Return of the Shut Up Goddess”, his guitar almost shakuhachi-like. While Sorgen and Duboc can provide fields of scintillating detail, they’re also capable of tremendous drive, most notably in the powerful backing they provide Giardullo for his intense tenor exhortation on“American Open Road with a Frog”, a whimsical title likely inspired by the soulful multiphonic roar that the saxophonist develops. The extended “Triptych” is notable for the collective composition of which the group is capable, Duboc (a brilliant arco player) and Lopes developing spontaneous figures that become both insistent support and provocation to the horns. There are musical relationships developing here that bode well for the future.