Friday, December 23, 2016

Club d'Elf, Live at Helsinki Club, 2-CD Set

Club d'Elf has nearly always impressed me as a psychedelic fusion jazz outfit with smarts as well as soul. Their new 2-CD set, Live at Club Helsinki (Face Pelt 5003) continues that creative strain and adds to it, thanks in part to the addition of key phenom John Medeski. There is more than ever a pronounced North African strain to be heard as well, with Brahim Fribgane effectively coming through on oud, voice and percussion.

The rest of the band--Duke Levin (guitar), Mister Rourke (DJ), Mike Rivard (bass, sintir, bass kalimba), Dean Johnston (drums) and Thomas Workman on flute for a couple of cuts--bring us a groovingly varied program of long form improvisation and attractive riffs.

Perhaps there are less bands actively engaging in post-Milesian psych-jazz-rock now than there was a few years back, or perhaps it is only that I am not sent as much of this sort of thing than I used to, but in either event I am glad to dig into this set and explore it in depth.

There is finely detailed group interactions, nice guitar, oud and key soloing, and substance to be heard every step of the way.

Anyone who takes to the electric jam thing will find this one a boon, for sure. Viva Club d'Elf!

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