Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

589

Forgas Band Phenomena: L'Axe du Fou (Axis of Madness)

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Forgas Band Phenomena: L'Axe du Fou (Axis of Madness) There has been a relatively short gap between Forgas Band Phenomena's L'Axe du Fou and Soleil 12 (Cuneiform, 2005)—four years, as opposed to the six between Soleil and the out-of-print Extra Lucide (Cosmos, 1999)—but plenty has happened. Drummer Patrick Forgas' longstanding group has been almost completely revamped—only bassist Kengo Mochizuki and keyboardist Igor Brover remain—and with the departing altoist Denis Guivarc'h, his octet has trimmed down to a septet.



With Soleil's captivating material dating back a considerable number of years—in some cases as far back as the '70s—L'Axe du Fou's four tracks, on the other hand, represent some of Forgas' most recent writing. And while the annoyance of dealing with personnel changes delayed the music from being recorded, it was ultimately a good thing. The already lengthy "Double-Sens"—nearly 14 minutes of episodic, smooth yet irregularly metered lyricism with solo features for the all-around impressive trumpeter Dimitri Alexaline, saxophonist Sebastien Trognon, pianist Brover, and violinist Karolina Mlodecka—is a far cry from its original, massive 35 minutes. Sometimes recording in the studio as opposed to live provides the opportunity to assess the music and adjust it before letting it out, making L'Axe du Fou Forgas' most concise and streamlined writing to date, with little in the way of excess or overstatement.



While FBP has always been stylistically compared to the British Canterbury scene—and rightly so—in fparticular with groups like Hatfield and the North, National Health and Phil Miller's In Cahoots, L'Axe du Fou does begin to widen the gap, lending FBP a more singular and distinctive voice. A greater reliance on horns and violin with less on the more conventional guitar-keys-bass-drums line-ups of many Canterbury groups (though horns are by no means strangers to some), FBP has always been a playing band, and even in the more sterile confines of the studio, it proves capable of the kind of energy more normally associated with live performance. Forgas and Mochizuki form a relentless rhythm section capable of navigating the drummer's knotty compositional twists and turns, as well as firm grooves that support energetic solos from everyone including guitarist Benjamin Violet, who demonstrates a chameleon-like ability to turn from clean, supporting arpeggios on the brisk yet brooding "La Clef" to searing rapid-fire phrases at the end of the 16-minute title track.



While brief moments of extreme are peppered throughout L'Axe du Fou's nearly 50-minutes, the emphasis is on strong melody, driven by ever-shifting rhythmic and harmonic foundations that ensure plenty of solo space. If new music from Forgas is as good as this, let's hope he continues the winning streak and, with the ability to retain a consistent line-up, continue to produce music this full of vim and vigor.


Track Listing: La Clef (The Key); L'Axe du Fou (Axis of Madness); Double-Sens (Double Entendre); La 13eme Lune (The 13th Moon).

Personnel: Patrick Forgas: drums; Sebastien Trognon: tenor and soprano saxophones; Dimitri Alexaline: trumpet, flugelhorn; Benjamin Violet: guitar; Karolina Mlodecka: violin; Igor Brover: keyboards; Kengo Mochizuki: bass.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read Umbrella Weather CD/LP/Track Review Umbrella Weather
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 24, 2017
Read Born In An Urban Ruin CD/LP/Track Review Born In An Urban Ruin
by John Sharpe
Published: January 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 24, 2017
Read Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs) CD/LP/Track Review Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs)
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 24, 2017
Read #knowingishalfthebattle CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Live In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian Microjam!" CD/LP/Track Review Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian Microjam!
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Guitar Fantasies" CD/LP/Track Review Guitar Fantasies
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: November 2, 2016
Read "One For Marian: Celebrating Marian McPartland" CD/LP/Track Review One For Marian: Celebrating Marian McPartland
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "Meets Batida" CD/LP/Track Review Meets Batida
by James Nadal
Published: March 15, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "Hark The Herald" CD/LP/Track Review Hark The Herald
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 6, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!