Live reviews

REVIEW: The Jazz Migration showcase at La Dynamo in Pantin, France

No Tongues
Photo credit: Nigel Slee
Jazz Migration Showcase
(La Dynamo, Pantin, France, 3 December 2018. Review by Leah Williams)

Jazz Migration has been supporting and mentoring young creative jazz musicians since its inception in 2002, helping them to build their careers and share their music on a global platform. Its annual showcase at Dynamo in Paris offers four of its selected groups the opportunity to perform a 30-minute set in front of the public and specially invited guests from across Europe’s jazz scene.

Although there were many similarities between the groups, with a prevalence of electronic effects and recordings, and a shared curiosity for testing the conventional boundaries of their instruments, they were also completely unique and, in many ways, contrasting groups, making it somewhat difficult to compare them.

However, the one set that will definitely stay with me the longest and left me eager for more came from No Tongues. Made up of four musicians from the Nantes region, the group has a very clear inspiration and direction. They are inspired by “human oral traditions from across the globe” and the hidden or even forgotten parts of ourselves these reveal – perhaps signified by the tribal masks with which they shared the stage. From the opening short piece where the musicians played in unison to reflect and amplify a man taking his cattle out to pasture, it was clear this was going to be something completely new.

Moving on to pieces inspired by an Inuit recording and two contrasting funeral laments – from Tibet and the Antipodes Islands – the group used dialogue between the instruments and the recordings alongside a whole panoply of interesting effects. To give a small taste, Ronan Courty used mallets, pencils and at one point a grooming brush to draw interesting sounds from his double bass while Alan Regardin and Matthieu Prual played their trumpet and saxophone into each other resulting in an interesting wall of sound as well as a trial of breath control. There was something quite visceral about experiencing their performance, that truly did make you feel as though you were connecting to a time and people beyond yourself. It didn’t always make for comfortable listening but to watch live it was a feast for the senses, keeping the audience completely entranced with an innovation and musicianship hard to match.

Ronan Prual – double bass
Ronan Courty – double bass and ‘objects’
Alan Regardin – trumpet and ‘objects’
Matthieu Prual – saxophones and bass clarinet

House of Echo
Publicity photo

House of Echo is another quartet, headed up by pianist Enzo Carniel and guitarist Marc-Antoine Perrio. They were introduced as “young musicians with great maturity who don’t fear silence or being noisy”. The first piece illustrated this perfectly. Music full of delicate dialogue developed slowly yet organically, creating a deep ambience in the small space. This led into a sort of controlled chaos from which beautiful colours and melodies emerged sporadically, allowing the audience to remain alongside throughout. Out of all the groups, this is the one I could imagine having the widest appeal and would be equally effective listened to at home as live. In fact, the frantic happenings on stage with the many, many different tech effects that Marc-Antoine Perrio was working with, meant that at times it was nicer to close my eyes and let the glorious wash of sound engulf me without the distraction.

Enzo Carniel – piano
Marc Antoine Perrio – guitar
Ariel Tessier – drums
Simon Tailleu – double bass

Séverine Morfin and Angela Flahault of Three Days of Forest
Photo credit: Nigel Slee

Three Days of Forest opened the showcase in true style. The only group to include voice as one of the instruments, this automatically lent them a unique appeal and perspective. Music that truly defies definition, they were introduced as a group blurring the boundaries of genre, encompassing elements of folk, free jazz, punk and protest song. Their latest music was inspired by protest poetry written by African American authors Rita Dove and Gwendolyn Brooks and some of the poems were read out in between pieces, which was a nice touch. The unusual trio of vocals, viola and drums worked incredibly well together in this setting, creating a soundscape that was at once diverse and yet wholly theirs. All pieces were performed with infectious conviction, with each instrument an integral part of the ensemble. The expertly built texture at times appeared so much bigger than should be created by just three musicians, resulting in an epic soundscape easy to get lost in.

Angela Flahault – voice
Séverine Morfin – viola
Florian Satche – drums

Publicity Photo 

Melusine drew the short straw somewhat, playing at the end of an evening that went beyond its scheduled time, and didn’t benefit from the same audience numbers as the others. However, this didn’t stop them from giving their all in an impassioned performance that effectively brought together this unusual ensemble. There were some moments of real brilliance, with the skilled playing of Christophe Girard on accordion or William Rollin on electric guitar taking the lead to create an anchor in the midst of the free form. Their overall sound didn’t seem to have come together in such a distinct way as the other groups quite yet but there was enough passion, innovation and talent to still make them one to watch.

Anthony Caillet – euphonium
Stan Delannoy – drums, percussion
Christophe Girard – accordion, composition
William Rollin – electric guitar
Simon Tailleu – double bass

Leah Williams is a freelance journalist and editor working across many different sectors and has been a regular reviewer and feature writer for LJN since 2016.

LINK: Jazz Migration website

Categories: Live reviews

Leave a Reply