I'm very fond of Miles' '70s "electric" period, especially the dark, deep live albums he recorded during this time (namely Dark Magus and Agharta). This disc, which gives MD the big-band treatment, offers many pleasures of its own, although, for my money, neither Cugny nor anyone else (save maybe Bill Laswell) has ever reached the same primal place that Miles did during this time. Excellent album! This album is something special. Great atmosphere, 60 minutes of pure enjoying.
Gil Evans was his spiritual father, and when the pianist and composer Laurent Cugny took charge of the ONJ en 1994. He already had big-band experience: for more than ten years he’d been leading the Big Band Lumière. For Laurent Cugny, the ONJ would be an extension of that rewardind experience, and it was enhanced by great encounters.
The second of two album to come out of the Nov 1987 sessions featuring the great Gil Evans with Laurent Cugny's Big Band Lumiere. The first album is RHYTHM-A-NING. Laurent Cugny was born in 1955, he is one of the best French jazz musician and known as a specialist of Gil Evans' music. Laurent wears two hats: he is, on one side, a musician and, on the other, a musicologist and a professor at the Paris-Sorbonne University. Self-taught musician, he started playing the piano when he was ten and played in amateur groups at the age of eighteen. He created several groups while he was studying economics and film studies. In 1979, he created the Big Band Lumiere and won the same year the third prize of piano at the National Jazz Competition in La Defense. In 1980, he also received prizes for its compositions and for the Big Band Lumiere.
This is a very interesting recording. Aging arranger/pianist Gil Evans agreed after much persuasion to come to Paris and play his music at a few concerts with Laurent Cugny's Orchestra. After only one rehearsal, the first event took place, and it gratified Evans to realize that the young French musicians were not only excellent players but big Gil Evans fans. Their interpretations of Thelonious Monk's "Rhythm-A-Ning," "London" and "La Nevada" rank with the best versions of Evans's regular Monday Night Band, and Cugny's "Charlie Mingus' Sound of Love" (an answer to Mingus' "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love") is also excellent. Few of the sidemen, other than tenor-saxophonist Andy Sheppard and percussionist Marilyn Mazur, are known in the U.S., but they did an excellent job of bringing Gil Evans's music to life.
To a backdrop of the apocalypse, torrential flooding and the threat of earthquake, a simple man embraces a curious nymph-like créature, pregnant and désirable, who stops clocks and awakens long-forgotten languages. Adapted from the work of José Rivera, "Cloud Tectonics" represents a singular approach to jazz-opera, masterfully written and performed by Laurent Cugny.
Produced by Laurent Cugny and Daniel Richard for L'orchestre National de Jazz. Laurent Cugny - Bandleader. Ranks alongside George Gruntz as prime European contemporary composer, leader. His large orchestra is remniscent of Gil Evans big band in final stages; his pieces have quirky, unpredictable quality, as do his recordings.
This is a sensational album that seemlessly merges big band conceptions with progressive electric instrumentation, without sacrificing any of the artistic values that can be found in either when in the right hands. This is absolutely a must own for anyone who appreciates sublimely crafted intelligently played music, and especially for anyone who appreciates jazz in the least, though pegging the project as jazz misses the point.
La musique de Gil Evans traverse le temps avec une grande fluidité, restant un solide fil d’Ariane pour de nombreux jazzmen, jeunes ou moins. Son principal disciple européen, Laurent Cugny, n’a jamais cessé de transmettre l’héritage du maitre disparu en 1988 mais surtout de faire vivre sa musique. Cet album, le premier du Gil Evans Paris Workshop (GEPW), orchestre en forme de all-stars du jeune jazz français, est la nouvelle preuve de sa mission à laquelle il ne faillit jamais. Reprenant une instrumentation proche de celles qu'affectionnait Gil Evans, avec cor, tuba, guitare et flûte, le GEPW redonne vie aux classiques de l'arrangeur tout en permettant aux musiciens de la nouvelle génération du jazz français qui le constituent de s'approprier et d'interpréter ce répertoire historique sans le figer.
Here Lucky goes to Memphis. Several years into a solo career, the former blues whiz kid plays good keyboards and guitar, and sings stirringly on originals and covers from all over the black music map (Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, Les McCann & Eddie Harris, blues piano master Roosevelt Sykes, etc.) His modern soul-cum-blues is hot, sweaty, and aggressive, and he gets the job done in busy arrangements shared with the Memphis Horns, honey-throated back-up singers, and muscular hired guns like bassist Willie Weeks and drummer Crusher Green. Peterson had the good sense to collaborate with New Yorker Jim Payne when writing five songs for the album, including the killer slow blues instrumental that doubles as the album title.
The Mike Westbrook Orchestra's 1982 opus The Cortège, initially released as a sprawling three-disc vinyl set by Original Records (re-released on CD by Enja) and winner of that year's Grand Prix du Disque de Montreux, is an often stunning work of massive scope and an indisputable highlight of Westbrook's career. Originally commissioned by the Bracknell Jazz Festival in 1979 and subsequently performed at a number of European festivals, The Cortège is themed around the idea of a New Orleans funeral procession, from its dirges to its final exuberance, but this theme is used as a framework for excursions into territory that is pure Westbrook – namely a marriage of creative jazz orchestra and European poetry written by Federico García Lorca, Arthur Rimbaud, Hermann Hesse, William Blake, and others.