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Club d'Elf: Night Sparkles

Read "Night Sparkles" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

On December 16, 2011, bassist and bandleader Mike Rivard and the rest of the floating Club d'Elf instrumental ensemble assembled at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge (MA), for their regular gig at the regular location in the extended live residency that the band began at the Lounge back in 1998 (and continues to this day). Guest musicians often dropped in after finishing their own Boston area gigs to join the Club and this evening would prove no exception, as Boston ...

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Club d'Elf: Night Sparkles

Read "Night Sparkles" reviewed by Doug Collette

Night Sparkles follows bassist/sintirist Mike Rivard on his continuing adventures into the “Moroccan-based psychedelic dub" style he initiated with Club D'Elf in the 1990s. It's altogether remarkable he's managed to formulate such a novel approach to improvisational music while juggling the near-perpetual rotating cast of personnel, but it is to the great credit of the titular leader that his stewardship encourages invention from his bandmates, whoever they may be (in the not so recent past, keyboardist John Medeski and guitarist ...

RADIO

NY Free Quartet, Michael Gregory Jackson & Marc Jufer

Read "NY Free Quartet, Michael Gregory Jackson & Marc Jufer" reviewed by Maurice Hogue

There's a wide variety of great tunes this episode: Club D'Elf kicks it off with the title track to their latest live set, saxophonist Muriel Grossmann and her quartet acknowledge the musical and mystical paths of John Coltrane, the New York Free Quartet's Dream Time marks their return to releasing excellent work, and the very influential guitarist Michael Gregory Jackson's latest debuts. There's more, of course, from Swiss tenor player Marc Jufer and trio, and the Frenchmen Stéphan Oliva and ...

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Club d'Elf: Night Sparkles

Read "Night Sparkles" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

For the Boston, Massachusetts-based Club d'Elf, the boundaries are long gone; they may never have been there to start with. Almost twenty years ago, the group debuted with Live at The Lizard Lounge (Grapeshot Media, 2000), an amalgam of jazz, electronica, hip hop, and funk. At times, the group (always a fluid entity) has included accordion, oud, didgeridoo, doumbek and qaraqab standing comfortably next to guitars, bass, keyboards, and horns. If it weren't obvious from the instrumentation, this is not ...

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Club d'Elf: Live at Club Helsinki

Read "Live at Club Helsinki" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Club d'Elf and their sprawling live records present a unique challenge to folks who write about them. This double Live at Club Helsinki set reveals every modern style and multiple Moroccan rhythms (except for opera and bluegrass--maybe). But often we want so much to relate or explain these sounds, and there's so much going on in so many different combinations, that our explanations eventually grow so complicated that they lose their soul. Soulless is no way to address this music. ...

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Club d'Elf: Live at Club Helsinki

Read "Live at Club Helsinki" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

The Boston-based collective Club d'Elf seems to attract genre labels like nobody's business. Moroccan-dosed dub-jazz, trance, psychedelia, free jazz, electronica, hip hop, avant-garde, jam band, rock...what other styles have you got? At one point or another any of these labels could apply, but the distinctions are blurred in the joyous sonic stew. The band has hosted a dizzying array of players: their website includes long lists of “Special Guests," “Rotating Cast," and “Occasional Conspirators." But the core group of bassist ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Club d'Elf: Live at Club Helsinki

Read "Live at Club Helsinki" reviewed by Doug Collette

It's not really necessary to be a dervish dancer to appreciate Club d'Elf, especially because, on Live at Club Helsinki, the prominence of varied sounds from Duke Levine's electric guitars, combined with the keyboard wizardry of John Medeski, is enough to capture and hold the attention of (almost) any contemporary music-lover. It's as effortless to fall into a dreamlike trance as a visceral spell in response to these extend Moroccan-influenced grooves. The cumulative intensity, however, is almost indiscernible, ...


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