Temple of Enthousiasm [TB#2.3, return journey] | November 2022, Chicago

They began to think of it this way: as the musical creation of a magnetic field. Four Aces and a Queen, of course, and all the combinations of the unimaginable, all the balances, all the imbalances.

First between a poet with a wide-open conscience (Marvin Tate), a hallucinating piper (Erwan Keravec), a devilish saxophonist (Gerrit Hatcher), and two cellists in ambush (Gaspar Claus & Lia Kohl). Each and every one of them has taken care to put down roots in a territory or a history (from the outspokenness of the Chicago ghetto to all the winds of Brittany, from jazz to pop or improvisation, as long as crossroads are open), while remaining free to move about, to start all over again and ad infinitum. Each one sees or hears things in his own generous way, pulling in his own direction while being attracted by the directions discovered by the other four. Pentacle.

Not only heterodox, even unheard-of instrumentation, but above all a way of making sound matter of incredible density and ductility say something else. It’s not just a matter of instrumentation, however phantasmagorical it may be, and this one certainly is: it’s a matter of personalities, sensibilities and strategies. Negotiating the bends, the proximity and the distance, negotiating the crossroads and intersections that The Bridge continues to foster with this third set of a second cycle.

October 31, Connect Gallery. It’s a reunion for Marvin Tate, Erwan Keravec, Lia Kohl, Gaspar Claus and Gerrit Hatcher – two years and a bit later, and a pandemic. The quintet’s name is Temple of Enthusiasm, the baptismal font of a planet in madness. But there’s no reason to believe that the world is coming to an end: there’s still another world to be invented at every moment. This is what Arthur Wright’s images and words say on the gallery walls.

November 2, Constellation. First concert after the Día de los Muertos or Sahmain reunion and the release of the aptly named Missing Stairs. We all know that a concert hall is always a temple somewhere, and that missing staircases, hidden doors, secret or underground passages await us in the music that improvises itself, that gives way. Gerrit, Lia, Marvin, Gaspar and Erwan don’t deprive themselves or us of anything.

November 3, Epiphany Hall. Thanks to the allies of Fulcrum Point New Music Project, enthusiasts, members of the Dionysian cult better known as the Temple of Enthusiasm, in the first quarter of the 21st century, mix with several improvisers from here, from Chicago: Angelo Hart on piano, Carmina Edwards on double bass, Christian Dilligham on double bass, Chad McCullough on trumpet. The enthusiasm is infectious (it’s euphoric what’s going on in the old church), and at times dubious. What is the basis for collective improvisation, the art of conversation, the art of the encounter? Does it have bases, feet, spies everywhere? How can it be recognized? Does it have to be recognizable?

November 4, Logan Center for the Arts. Relentless, imprescriptible, the 5 resume their freewheeling narratives, telling their bedtime stories, their stories set within all stories, entangled and finally elongated like the smoothing of feathers in birds, in the thunderbird for example, the smoothing of thunder and lightning.

November 5, Corbett vs. Dempsey. A side-step for Erwan Keravec alone, several side-steps, an imaginary parade, layering sounds and summoning resonances, echoes, auras, under the eyes and spiral buttons of Ray Johnson’s works. Silent Dog Whistle Enclosed for the Invisible Man: we couldn’t have dreamed of anything better, and it shows.

November 5, Madison. At the North Street Cabaret, thanks to the good graces of BlueStem Jazz, Temple of Enthusiasm gathers its spirits, and not only its own, scatters its spirits too. It swirls in and around the room, like a Vincent van Gogh starry sky. That would be it. Short circuits in the Milky Way.

November 6, Milwaukee. Temple of Enthusiasm in the Land of Plenty. The imaginary standards of imaginary territories, the imaginary cartographies that reveal these territories to themselves. It was written, nothing is written. It’s true that, from the cornucopia (not just the bagpipes, but the tenor saxophone, the cellos, the voice, all the demons) to the land of plenty, there’s only this sideways step, into the void, into the unknown of the common good to come.

November 7, Elastic. On Monday evening, it’s the Anagram Series, a time for experimentation. Erwan Keravec joins forces with Steve Berry and Will Faber to create vertigo, the sensation and certainty of vertigo; Gaspar Claus with Fred Jackson Jr., Jason Roebke and Tim Daisy, as well as another visitor from France, Sakina Abdou, to vaporize rhythms and melodies, to apprehend.

November 8, Doug Fogelson Studio. In the loft or treasure room, Sakina Abdou begins alone and thundering, dragon on her treasure. Then she joins Temple of Enthusiasm to stun an audience of friends and neighbors with dark, rich colors, like agates of sound and words.

November 8th and 9th. Temple of Enthusiasm in the Temple ESS recordings: part of an exquisite musical corpse with all The Bridge ensembles from the second cycle, part of an experiment based on the Sun Ra archives (still digging with Le Sony’r Ra , who probably predicted Temple of Enthusiasm).

ovember, Elastic. For the Improvised Music Series, Sakina Abdou and Molly Jones open the fiery ball. Two saxophones in the forge, two implacable bellows. Then Temple of Enthusiasm resumes its ramblings, full of wisdom, as disconcerting as they are concentrated.

November 12, ProMusica. Last concert for Gerrit Hatcher the tempestuous, Lia Kohl the tightrope walker, Marvin Tate the soothsayer, Gaspar Claus the prestidigitator and Erwan Keravec the magnetic. T.O.E., as they’re also known, oscillates between the ritualistic and the experimental. They don’t beat about the bush, but form a single bundle of fantastic destinations.

November 13, Diasporal Rhythms. Gaspar Claus accompanies Sakina Abdou as she meets her two Chicagoan partners for the next Bridge, in January and February 2023: Coco Elysses on didley-bow and Ugochi Nwaogwugwu on talking drum and vocals. It’s time for bards and embardes, for Sunday blues reinvented.

November 13, Hungry Brain. Last groupings. One is very tightly knit, with Gaspar Claus, Sakina Abdou, Josh Berman, Jason Roebke and Mike Reed forming a weave, a mesh, from one end of an almost narrative improvisation to the other. The other is split, with slow background movements and dazzling advances, between Lia Kohl, Lou Mallozzi, Joshua Abrams, Jeb Bishop and Erwan Keravec. Every trick in the book.