Shore to Shore [TB#4] | April-May 2014, Chicago

How can one describe, without immediately calling upon desire, a music that does not yet exist, that only has for itself an impassioned urge to be discovered, to find its every formula and reformulation? Possibly by using the words of guitarist Julien Desprez: “To me, the two basses and the guitar symbolize a deep tunnel, illuminated by the wind instruments. Waiting for us beyond this tunnel, there will be, perhaps, light or darkness…”

Can it thus be described through its “unconventional” instrumentation (therefore overlooking the fact that creative “jazz” music is about nurturing unfamiliarity, ever on the verge of surging at a moment’s notice, and knocking down familiarity, heeding its demands to be questioned and to become)? This quintet is driven by the urge to explore the possibilities of a formation deprived of keyboards and percussions, yet equipped with a distinctive string section: the ebbs of two bassists (Matt Lux and Mathieu Sourisseau) who don’t play the double bass, and the flow of a guitarist (Julien Desprez) who plays the electricity. The whirling streams of two wind instruments, and their outbursts of propelling sonic expanses, launch the ensembles in and out of orbit – a cornet (Rob Mazurek), and a baritone saxophone or a clarinet (Mwata Bowden). Resulting in music defined by gravities and forces of attraction.

How else? Describe it through the musicians’ personalities? This ensemble is also born from the meeting of a few individuals who answered the call of The Bridge, a transatlantic exchange network between musicians in Chicago and in France. Rob Mazurek and Matt Lux have known each other for a long time, especially since the Isotope 217 experiment, and have frequently collaborated in the orchestras that Mazurek ceaselessly imagines (Exploding Star Orchestra, Pharoah and the Underground, Pulsar Quartet…). Thanks to this quintet, they have the opportunity to actually perform with a beloved Chicago musician, former A.A.C.M. President, director of several ensembles at the University of Chicago, and recipient of the 2013 Chicago Jazz Hero Award: Mwata Bowden. Similarly, Julien Desprez and Mathieu Sourisseau have never played together. But they have both taken part in collective adventures that caused quite a stir in France’s improvised music in the last few years (such as the CoaxCollective for the former, the Tigre des platanes for the latter). They have both crossed paths with a few Chicago musicians: Sourisseau performed with Hamid Drake alongside Ethiopian singer Etenesh Wassié, and with Michael Zerang alongside poet Daniel Scalliett; Desprez with David Grubbs, or with Tortoise version 2.0 in Paris, and with Mazurek for an initial experiment in an abyssal duo. They both eagerly practice a necessary genre crossover, be it jazz, improvised music, electric or electronic music, and so-called “world” music… The Chicago musicians should not be reluctant to this, for they are naturally and culturally used to the unusual, as illustrated by the involvement of Bowden with the Chi-Lites (or with Muhal Richard Abrams), Mazurek with Stereolab (or with Bill Dixon), Lux with Iron & Wine (or with George Freeman).

But time after time, one can describe the unknown by the unknown. By drawing lines between certain projects of the musicians, separately – Radiation 10 for Julien Desprez, Sound Spectrum for Mwata Bowden, the Sound Is Quintet for Rob Mazurek… And thus, perhaps, reveal that in the field of music, they lead their own research on: vibratory phenomena; electromagnetic phenomena; energy sources; mankind’s place in the universe, the universe’s place within mankind; the states of transition from interiority (when everything is peaceful and auspicious) to exteriority (when everything is plowed and siphoned). Reveal that they use improvisation as a guidance system that can scout the road and route; follow and cover tracks; change the landscape, the territory, and the environment. Reveal that they rearrange every origin and every destination.

À travers Chicago, 27 avril au 11 mai 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hamid Drake, who was on the last exploratory trip to France with Harrison Bankhead, Benjamin Duboc and Ramon Lopez, takes over and greets the first arrivals at the airport: not only Mathieu Sourisseau, with whom Drake performs in a trio rounded out by Ethiopian singer Eténèsh Wassié, but also Samuel Silvant, who is not part of this group but will be in a forthcoming project (alongside Antonin-tri Hoang, Ernest Khabeer Dawkins and Mars Williams), and who insisted on being there to see for himself (Drake and Silvant also played together, in February in Nîmes, in an expanded version of La Turbine! , with three double basses and three drums). The links are forged, the arches of the bridge added to one another. The Yoda yodeling on the dashboard of Hamid Drake’s car leads straight to Rajun Cajun (1459 E. 53rd St., Toronto). ), where one listens avidly, while savoring a few Indian dishes, to stories of haunted neighborhoods, of neighborhoods that are getting richer without their inhabitants getting richer, of schools that will never open their doors, of saxophonists Charles Wes Cochran and Maulawi Nururdin, of drummer Sabu Zawadi, who are part of history but won’t appear in any history book.

At the door of 6610 S. Drexel Ave, where Sourisseau and Julien Desprez will be staying for the first week, a police patrol is keeping a long lookout for our suspicious gathering in this South Side neighborhood. But near the home of Waseem Jafar, who hosts Silvant and will prove to be the perfect passe-partout, on the side of Wrigley Field, the Cubs’ baseball stadium in the shape of stacked flying saucers, only the dark night awaits us – which we nevertheless defy to head to the Hungry Brain (2319 W. Belmont Ave.) and lend an ear to freedmen Dave Rempis, Joshua Abrams and Avreeayl Ra, who split the veil of all obscurities. As he leaves us, Hamid Drake confides mysteriously, luminously: “I have a feeling that Chicago will treat you well…”. Duly noted.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Julien Desprez arrives from New York and, no sooner said than done, we pick up Avreeayl Ra and drive through the deserted district of Woodlawn (“A vibrant community full of possibilities”, claim the banners). In the car where his drums have been stacked, Ra reminisces about Aymeric Avice, with whom he shared the stage last November, but also about his saxophonist father, who preceded John Gilmore at Sun Ra, and who today, half a century later, plays with Marshall Allen… The first night takes place in the scarlet magic cube of the Whistler (2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.), epic cocktail bar and Relax Attack Jazz Series. Attempt at an initial description, to leave a lasting impression. Mankwe Ndosi is in the heartbreaking dress of his voice; Keefe Jackson stands at his tenor saxophone and bass clarinet, unapologetic and reckless; Dan Bitney (a member of Tortoise with whom Desprez performed at The Bridge’s opening night on February 23, 2013) is devoid of anything but a few modest machines and an amplified tambourine; Avreeayl Ra takes charge of the hotbeds of energy. Desprez soon takes to the airwaves (antennas), while Sourisseau becomes a carpenter on his acoustic bass guitar. From friction, we move on to frictions and shivers. A duo of lightning bolts between guitar and drums, a few gasps and hiccups from the bass clarinet, the itch of Bitney’s cracking tools and the ravaging of Sourisseau’s prepared bass… the suction cup of the voice steps in before other cataclysms. In the second set, Ndosi rambles on about a recent trip to Tanzania, while Desprez and Sourisseau scratch and machine, industrious echo chamber makers. Each introduces himself, and then absents himself, in a shouting parliament where no one falls in line. Especially not Desprez and Ra, who, in a ferocious final burst of laughter, says to his partner: “What’s wrong with you? Contact is established.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The blackboard in a classroom at South Shore Fine Arts Academy (1415 E. 70th St.), in the Dorchester Projects district, reads: “Expert Rhythm Detectives”. And on the wall: “Music is life. That’s why our hearts have beats”. So when Sourisseau pulls out a toothbrush to scrub his strings, laughter inevitably erupts in the children’s throats, so unmixed and so mixing. The two musicians from across the Atlantic are asked to perform a few short films made by their descendants, and translate adventure, scary, mysterious, dreamy into music… They give them a lesson in extended techniques, i.e. inventiveness: how to trigger the imagination when you play, and because you play. And they play a blues from elsewhere to the South Side kids, who don’t recognize the music created by their forebears and instead ask them what French music they play. It’s a marvel of misunderstanding, of so-so, of all the reframing: we improvise, it’s our heritage, they confess. There’s no avoiding the ruckus. Second night at the Whistler. Attempt at a secondary description, to make an impression. Mankwe Ndosi sits barefoot on the sacred earth of the stage; colossal Jason Stein often looks up at the sky, while the fork of his bass clarinet forks toward the ground; Edward Wilkerson, Jr, a crumpled rag in the bell of his tenor saxophone, as if he weren’t already a model of discretion and completeness, as if he couldn’t be trusted with everything, turns up on his heels; Fred Lonberg-Holm scissors his cello on his triangular stool; Desprez and Sourisseau clash respectfully, and Silvant, to whom Avreeayl Ra (occasionally appearing on flute) courteously ceded his place in the first set, is dry and matte… Spheres of resources and resonance, where the strings sizzle, where the storm of a glass voice breaks. Salvation comes through the voice, and the final procession loses itself in the night that is a noise that is night.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

One might have guessed. Just as Charles Mingus’ Goodbye Pork Pie Hat lurks behind the aptly named Buried Treasure, Mike Reed’s new composition for his Loose Assembly quintet, heard early in the morning, one place always hides another. As the day’s schedule had to be changed at the last minute, we found refuge in the brick lair of Strobe Recording Studio (2631 W. Division St.), in the heart of the Puerto Rican district, thanks to the help of trombonist Nick Broste and the good care of Jamie Wagner, master of the place. The two saxophonists of the day, who will improvise with the three hexagonals, are Mars Williams, meeting his future partner Silvant for the first time, and Larry Ochs, just arrived from San Francisco. Impenetrable, they talk about anything and everything right up to the last moment, certainly anything other than what’s to come. If this is the “pre-appearance” that Ernst Bloch formalized, there’s nothing to suggest it, nothing before hostilities begin. On this day, total improvisation won’t be a lottery in which each person chooses his or her own number, conferring on the odds. Suddenly there’s an upheaval and a maelstrom, the music is instantly present and out of reach. The five men have the effect of metallurgists, their metalwork rendering any preparation of the material null and void. In two long sequences, shattering spear after spear, Ochs and Williams impose a hellish, unmistakably conjuring pace on the angelic Desprez, Sourisseau and Silvant. Everyone is still able to distinguish and make out, in this frenetic fracas, splinters of song caught in the rock. When it’s all over, the embers scattered, the smiles appear and the exchanges resume, but in fives, about everything and nothing, leaving one question unanswered: where, then, does such urgency come from, and its trembling necessity? We don’t discuss it over Waseem Jafar’s divine cheese platter, with a few strong spirits, and the moral support of Johnny Dyani, Dudu Pukwana and John Tchicai as Magwaza.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

After a daytime encore at the South Shore Fine Arts Academy, the evening takes place in the Comfort Station maisonette (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.), right on the crossroads, and as part of the sixth CIMMFest (Chicago International Music & Movies Festival). Ochs is back, in the audience this time, to hear Desprez and Sourisseau argue with Jason Stein, Harrison Bankhead on double bass (who previously played in a bass trio with Sourisseau and Benjamin Duboc, in Toulouse, in February) and Michael Zerang on drums (who previously played in a trio with Sourisseau and voice giver Daniel Scalliet, in Paris and Tours, in September 2013). They accompany a montage of films that go elsewhere, starting with Charles and Ray Eames’ “Powers of Ten”. We start with a couple lying on the grass after a picnic on the shores of Lake Michigan, and gradually drift off into the sky, the atmosphere, the stratosphere, towards moderately infinite spaces, towards an interplanetary mission in peril and wriggling but inevitably bellicose extraterrestrial civilizations (so they must not speak Greek). We no longer know who is invading whom. Then a gradual return to the couple, still asleep, to their bodies, their skin, their molecular tissue, their atoms and quarks, which open onto excerpts from Jean Painlevé documentaries, such as “Surfusion d’un corps cholestérique”… From microcosm to macrocosm and from infinity to the inifinitesimal, with a magnifying glass, the thwarted music doesn’t have all the time in the world, and doesn’t temper itself much except to nip at a few textures. You come out of it wobbly, as if from a steam bath of sound.

Friday, May 2, 2014

First encounter with Mwata Bowden at a master class at Columbia College (600 S. Michigan Ave.), organized thanks to the Jazz Links Student Council of the Jazz Institute of Chicago, but once past the jogging, the cordon and the compact firemen’s choir in grand style. After an introductory trio, Bowden wisely takes charge and imposes spacing on the students (the virtue of silence is to sharpen the statement that breaks it), while Desprez and Sourisseau manage to roar almost in unison. To the question raised by a student during an interruption, “But what do you see when you improvise with your eyes closed?”, the clarinetist replies that sometimes you have to block out your sight to amplify your hearing. To find form through listening, through the body traversed by waves. We then move on to Douglas R. Ewart’s Red Hills, which he had played for the musicians at the Brest Conservatoire last October, a cascading, gigantic structure in which everyone can hang on and hang off. Meanwhile, someone in the room is trying to read Italo Calvino. Off we go to the South Side, to the Archive House (6916 S. Dorchester Ave.), a sacred wooden library, a well of sound and popular science, where Desprez and Sourisseau meet a few members and close friends of the AACM (including Robert Irving III, Dushun Mosley, Leon Q. Allen).

Douglas R. Ewart is here precisely for a trio with guitarist and bassist. Breaths fray, strings powder, the springs of silence relax again. In a duet between six breaths and six strings (English horn and guitar, Sourisseau chooses to participate by not participating), the nodosities of sound extend the knots of the surrounding wood. Clearing. A clearing for the ensuing discussion, during which we ask ourselves how to get lost when we’ve found ourselves, and how to react to surprise without undermining it. We compare the usefulness and modes of operation of musician collectives as old as the AACM in Chicago and as young as Coax in Paris. It becomes clear that African-American and European creative musicians are similar in the different ways in which each has departed and will continue to depart from “jazz”, a common denominator but a false unit of measurement to which neither should be reduced. All practice the art of improvisation to varying degrees, and some devote themselves to it, here and there, with different methods. And while improvisation is certainly a universal language that enables us to talk to each other, it does not guarantee that we understand each other.

The virtue and richness of self-admitted misunderstanding. Late evening and dinner in a rococo booth at the House of Bing (6930 South Shore Drive), a Chinese restaurant populated exclusively by African-Americans, where the organization “MoBetter Jazz presents the ReBirth of Jazz in South Shore”. If the music of the Ari Brown Quintet in action is popular music, it’s not because it’s made in a conventional or unconventional way (tonal, modal, atonal, etc.: juggling and at ease with its juggles), but because of the euphoric spirit of sharing that reigns, come what may, in the packed room, from which singers by the dozen stand out. Music is part of everyday life. Late into the night, in the light rain, Avreeayl Ra, the quintet’s drummer, beats out a reminder of the neighborhood’s former rallying places, the off-the-wall schools he attended… It’s “Congo Beach”, the renamed Lake Michigan beach between 63rd and 64th Streets; it’s “The Point”, in nearby Hyde Park, which used to be a magnet for all the city’s striking spirits…

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Ewart, Desprez and Sourisseau do it again, with the demon of noon, in Patric McCoy’s Ali Baba’s cave (4346 S. Lake Park), opposite the home of Muddy Waters, who had the Rolling Stones play on his doorstep like everyone else. The apartment, cluttered with ten thousand works of art, is the headquarters of Diasporal Rhythms, an African-American cultural organization that has been collecting drawings, paintings, objects, sculptures and photographs from South Side residents for years. Under these auspices and omens, Desprez’s face silhouetted against Huey Newton’s, in front of bowls of exotic or forbidden fruit, the three musicians play intensification against intensity, which would not allow scattering and those potential songs that will never be played… Harrison Bankhead has come to pick us up, and we climb with him to the rooms and gardens of the Experimental Sound Studio (5925 N. Ravenswood), for an afternoon of musically inclined strolling. Tonight is the inaugural concert of the “official” line-up, as part of ESS’s Outer Ear Series, with Desprez, Sourisseau, Bowden, cornetist Rob Mazurek (also equipped with electro-acoustic equipment) and bassist Matt Lux (who remembers that his vocation was decided the day the Art Ensemble of Chicago paid an indescribable visit to his college…). Zerang arrives, Jim Baker arrives too – and he too played with Desprez at the Tortoise “2.0” concert on February 23, 2013. The outbursts of the previous days are still reflected in a certain irritability of the sound grain. The call-and-response games, the interaction, are of abruptness and mists. Each solo space is a new zone of disturbance. The baritone saxophone and cornet are wave generators, straddling the mustang of strings, backed up by Ewart’s momentum and force of projection for the second set. First gears. End of the evening at Waseem’s, where the world is remade, then blunted.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Off to Milwaukee for the Alternating Current Live Series at Woodland Pattern Bookcenter (720 E. Locust St.). And since it’s a bookshop, with a back room as clandestine as an exhibition or concert hall, books by Aimé Césaire, Emily Dickinson, K. Curtis Lyle, Philip Lamantia and Black Elk are consulted and purchased by the troupe. When the concert arrives, the immediate dilation does not dispel the mirage that begins to reign over the music that the two wind instruments and three string instruments play and could play. Tension and relaxation are replaced by exacerbation (Desprez as a telegraphist, Sourisseau’s twitching) and abandonment, depending on whether the improvisers decide to escape gravity (Bowden’s retreats or swerves, Lux’s aguêts) or go with it (Mazurek’s slippery slopes). A wall of magmatic sound then reveals a crack, which could become a waterline, the surface of water’s air.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Back from Milwaukee, it’s fair day at the Shrine (2109 S. Wabash Ave.), a bar with bars, lined up counters and opposites worthy of the richest hours of rhythm’n’blues (now called rap or house). Activist Kahil El’Zabar is a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. COAL. All these colorful families jostle for a long time in the overheated enclosure, to capture his mana, before the speech by Fabrice Rozié, the Consulate’s cultural attaché, and the preaching of the man himself who, as always, does not forget to exalt and enjoin us to stay the course of what is transforming the world. Opening the show, Bowden, Mazurek, Desprez, Lux and Sourisseau let the gray lava roll down onto the stunned audience, where it coagulates. An adventure was underway, and there was a need to keep fine-tuning his guidance and jamming system, adjusting the lenses of the distinct and the indistinct, without ever losing sight of the latter and its utility. Was this the place, was this the time?

The place and the formula are always inside the music, Mazurek thinks. For now, the mystery thickens. Then it’s time for El’Zabar, the inhabited one, to perform his charm and dervish numbers, accompanied by Dwight Trible on vocals, Corey Wilkes on trumpet and flugelhorn, Justin Dillard on keyboards and Tomeka Reid on cello. And in a third step, the percussionist offers his drums to Samuel Silvant and calls the opening musicians back on stage for a full-body “conduction”, announced by his mentor Kelan Phil Cohran. A member of Sun Ra’s Arkestra in the ’50s, co-founder of the AACM in the ’60s, local and sidereal legend ever since, Cohran recalls the status but also the transgressions of Louis Armstrong, the segregation in Chicago’s two musicians’ unions (the “white” or local #10 of the American Federation of Musicians, and the “black” or local #208 of the AFM), and their awkward merger, bringing as many solutions as new problems, under the effect of the Civil Rights Movement. “No one can close the door that musicians have opened”. And so it was this evening, reconciling Desprez, Dillard, Lux, Mazurek, Reid, Sourisseau, Trible and Wilkes under the whimsical guidance of El’Zabar. Silvant, who leaves the next day, will remember this.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Doug Fogelson is a photographer and publisher who has worked extensively with Waseem Jafar, and who sometimes organizes events in his loft (1821 W. Hubbard St.), just as Waseem once did in his, with Ornette Coleman among others – let’s just say that the concert was so well attended that the host had to stay at the door of his home and heard nothing of the music, only to see the saxophonist enter and leave his house, every few hours…. Altar panels, giant stuffed animals and glow-in-the-dark paintings provide the backdrop between the desks and worktables pushed up against the walls. When the studio is as full as a club, after an electric piano solo by the youthful Drake Faso and a preliminary consultation between the five members of the group (time to think about the opening and all the openings, the stratifications), the concert begins with the three string instruments, evolving from a stringy entanglement to derivations where they are joined, in the middle of the ford, by the clarinet and the cornet. Bowden circulates around shifted tonal centers that pose interesting problems for the collective direction. From hatching to bursting, from deregulated mechanisms to exploited blockages, the music discovers its own metabolism and meticulousness. The night is yellow and black.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A change of location and perspective. On the 9th floor of the recently opened Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th St.), on the edge of the University of Chicago, there’s the Performance Penthouse, whose large bay windows overlook the lawn trench laid out in 1893, on the 400th anniversary of the “discovery” of America and for one of those “World’s Fairs” the ancient world thought it had permission to hold. Several of the university’s substructures (the France Chicago Center°; the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture°; the Julie and Parker Hall Endowment for Jazz and American Music°; the Department of Music°; the Franke Institute for the Humanities°; the Center for International Studies Norman Wait Harris Memorial Fund…), feeling concerned, joined forces to host a concert and discussion by the quintet and its guest of the day, David Boykin on tenor saxophone. Bowden and Mazurek set the ball rolling with a winged flute duet, experimenting with different kinds of slowness and using speed to move from one to the other.

Everything is played out in restraint, with rare but all the more striking corroborations, such as the baritone in the fog or the disproportionate duet between Mazurek and Desprez. The elaborations are elongated, couched in mineral terms of quartz and spar, with Boykin as if detached, stifling his voice, drying up the source of his breath, obtaining sepulchral iridescence. And inspiring Mazurek to speak into the algebraic beard of his cornet. Desprez and Sourisseau’s inlays add to this stupor, when they’re not using the Morse alphabet of long and longer pulses, and ultra-sounds, developed by Lux. All that’s left is to talk, to turn the implicit into the explicit, as if these vases communicated easily, and despite the reinforcement and warm comments, from the hall, of Ewart, Robert Irving III and Khari B. Nevertheless, we all agreed to talk again about waves (interpreted differently depending on the musician’s culture°: awareness of the intentions of the ego or self, and of the actions of the other, the partner°, the forces and energies of the unconscious or the universe), through which we must let ourselves pass, in complete confidence. Some members of the group, however, emerge from this experience perplexed, with a restraint bordering on cold beauty, and from their contribution. You need confidence to improvise. You have to eat spicy food in Chinatown.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Back to the club at Elastic (2830 N. Milwaukee). The evening is given over to subsets, only solos, duos and trios, never the full quintet. The improvisations of the first set are monopolized by Bowden and Mazurek, first covering a territory of blowpipes and chimes, and then by Desprez, who catches up immediately. Everything is tried out so that we can tell each other the secrets we didn’t know we knew°: cut phrases and fortuitous paraphrases, insinuating misdirections, zebra baritone and fragmentation cornet, giant ocarina from one, oblong didgeridoo from the other, woodblocks and guitar with an unduly soaring bow, spasmodic in truth. Until Bowden’s solo, deaf and singing. The start of the second set is more complicated, as the trio of Desprez, Lux and Sourisseau is hampered by the inexpressible hum of the amplifiers, which some of them can live with as unrepentant charcoal burners, while the other is impatient to be the one chiseling away at the sharpness. Crushed glass and extinguished ash.

Matt Lux remains alone for a fluffy, camouflaged solo, before an unexpected final trio featuring the two blowers and Dave Rempis on scathing alto sax. With Tim Daisy and Keefe Jackson, we move on to the Mexican restaurant across the street where, spurred on by an irresistible bon vivant, it’s Byzantium, filming the floor, ceiling and table corners, giving each other bouquets of flowers and turquoise sunglasses, dipping pastries in hot sauce, calling all the trombonists in the world at a moment’s notice… Back in the car, Mazurek is immediately serious again, analyzing the band’s music very carefully. Never trust a bon vivant.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Recording session at ESS, everything in balance: solos, duos, trios, quartets and quintets. Events and accidents, reaction time, waiting and anticipation, a sense of construction, duration and becoming. The result soon on disc. For the concert at Constellation (3111 N. Western Ave.), the band-turned-group fully assumes a beautifully dispersed order and dark explosions of joy. All the tides ebb and flow beyond music played by five lighthouse keepers. It fogs and haloed, anthracite. In the second set, the decision was made: when one enters, the other leaves, never more than two players at a time, although transitions can be developed. Mazurek takes a Dadaist if not surrealist solo with only his mutes, merely adjusting and de-adjusting them to the bell of his cornet, before coaxing out My One and Only Love. A serene polyphony, from the depths, is rediscovered, and revived.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Release. Panoramic Ferris wheel, a souvenir of the first in history, erected in 1893 for the Universal Exhibition. Desprez and Sourisseau eat on the beach with Robert Irving III. Sustained daydreams.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The wheel is turning. Matt Lux is off on tour in Australia with the Iron & Wine band, while Nicole Mitchell celebrates Calvin Gant’s birthday at a Greek restaurant near downtown. In the afternoon, Desprez and Sourisseau will try again at Arts Incubator (301 E. Garfield Blvd.), in a neighborhood “in transition”, where David Boykin organizes a storefront church-style “free jazz jam session” every Sunday, with Eliel Sherman Storey on saxophones, Dan Godston on trumpet, Alex Wing on electric guitar, and himself on drums. They’ve got nothing better to do than invent an eighth day to “Creation”, placing themselves loosely at the source of all sounds. It’s not a “concert”, it’s not an “artistic” exercise (there are places for that), but an exorcism, sometimes ejaculatory. The storm rumbles.

At the Hungry Brain, as on the first night, Bowden, Mazurek, Desprez and Sourisseau, in quartet, enjoin each other: “OK, let’s do it, let’s go back home in the music”. There are stars in the sky on Sourisseau’s bass. This ether is now one of mutual understanding, of an elasticity that allows us to embrace turmoil when we need to (the clarinet’s mad creeper that transforms into a baritone, its intoxication), like agile whirlpools in the hollow of the music, in the crucible of the music, and all the pulverizations. The final, already melancholy melody resembles an apotheosis, an attachment. These musicians know each other as individuals, they exist as a foursome or a fivesome. Duly noted.

Alexandre Pierrepont

P.S.: The following day, May 12, Desprez, who had stayed behind, will take a bus to Minneapolis to meet up with Mankwe Ndosi and J.T. Bates (with whom, too, he had expanded Tortoise in 2013), who organizes improvisation sessions every Monday. the JT’s Jazz Implosion at the IceHouse (2528 S. Nicollet Av.). There, he plays with them and with Chris Bates, Davu Seru, Greg Schutte, Casey O’Brien – with DeVon Gray keeping his ear to the ground. And Desprez will go on to play with Ndosi, Ewart and Seru in private sessions. But that’s another story. Always another story.