Two percussionists, Sax and Tuba comprise Souffles, led by the brilliant Swiss drummer-composer, Pierre Favre. What an interesting concept?! Judging from the unorthodox instrumentation one could very well assume that this might be one of those free-jazz fests featuring inordinate doses of pounding drums and wild improvisational banter.... Not the case here.......Favre’s vision is nonetheless cohesive, vividly picturesque while showcasing his bright, cheerful compositions boasting engagingly memorable melodies along with razor-sharp ensemble work.
Pierre Favre can swing, improvise with the best or absorb the finer elements of world music while firmly planting his often-indelible stamp on matters in general. Here, Favre along with percussionist Lucas Niggli, Saxophonist Roberto Ottaviano and Tuba maestro, Michel Godard deliver the goods under the moniker, “Singing Drums” Yes, these drums sing! Favre and Niggli follow the melodies and/or thematic statements in unison often corresponding with the sonorous choruses provided by Ottaviano and Godard as in “Cabezas y Calabazas”. On “Erba Luce” the combined rhythmic development from Favre and Niggli segue into bouncy and affable melodies. Along with Godard’s fleet fingered tuba work, Ottaviano leads the sprightly yet jazzy direction while Favre and Niggli parallel the well-stated lyricism with nuance or fierce determination. “Singing Drums” quickly establish the groundwork as being a multidimensional band by way of Favre’s clever and alluring compositions and the ensemble’s passionate interplay. “Ritual To A Funeral” commences with slow dirge-like drumming which emits a somewhat eerie yet poignant atmosphere. On this piece, Godard and Ottaviano perform gorgeous well-stated choruses which rapidly evolve into moving, pensive and ultimately, very emotive motifs. More melodicism constructed around rhythmic movement is prominently demonstrated on “Que Bebe El Pez Del Marques” while Favre and Niggli turn up the heat with dazzling African rhythms on “Red Socks Dance”. On this piece Godard and Ottaviano engage in furious improvisation as Favre displays polyrhythmic fury behind the kit!
Pierre Favre’s compositions are upbeat, gleeful and remain fresh after repeated listens. Souffles is an outstanding release from Swiss-based Intakt records who rarely release anything which could be considered sub-par. Souffles is one of those rare works of art which dispels misguided conceptions from those who feel that drummers occupy limited roles in musical development. This one is a gem!!!! * * * * *
Pierre Favre; Percussion: Lucas Niggli; Percussion: Roberto Ottaviano; Saxophones; Michel Godard; Tuba, Serpent.
Cadence/North Country distributes in North America
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.