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Eclectic Maybe Band — Bars without Measures
(Discus Music 159CD, 2023, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2023-10-25

Bars without Measures Cover art

With each successive release, Guy Segers’ collective project called Eclectic Maybe Band changes character slightly, partly due to the contributions of the varying participants. Segers is here, of course, on bass and virtual instruments, as are the core contributors of Catherine Smet (keyboards), Dirk Wachtelaer (drums), Joe Higham (woodwinds), and Michel Delville (guitar), all of whom have played on all four albums. Other returning musicians are Cécile Broché (violin), Dirk Descheemaeker (woodwinds), Andy Kirk (keyboards), Stephan Köhr (bassoon), Dave Newhouse (woodwinds), Ángel Ontalva (guitar), Fabrice Owerzarzak (drums), Ariane Plumerel (violin), and Jean-Pierre Soarez (trumpet). There are a host of newcomers as well: Matvi Bilis (guitar), Mark Bogaerts (saxophones), Franck Cottret (trombone), Michael Delory (guitar), Marianne Denoïa (violin), Sibel Dinçer (vocals), Forrest Fang (violin), Dani Klein (vocals), Sean Rickman (drums), Julie Tippetts (vocals), Piet van Bockstal (oboe), Pierre Vervloesem (guitar), Daniel Vincke (saz), and Thierry Zaboitzeff (cello). In the usual Eclectic Maybe tradition, not all the players play on all the tracks, with the exception of Segers himself; also true to form, the tracks are a mixture of compositions and improvisations. The end result is sometimes reminiscent of Bitches Brew era Miles Davis, with funky grooves on bass and drums, along with sparse contributions from guitar and keyboards, plus very freely played brass and woodwinds. Other tracks tend towards a RIO-inflected chamber music sound, while some even straddle both worlds. The wide variety of instrumentation ensures that the album presents a constantly shifting palette of sound. Bars without Measures probably has more of the funky jazz flavor than some of the past releases, which leaned more towards the floating spacey side of the group’s style, and I find that it is my favorite Eclectic Maybe album so far. Segers has hit on a winning formula (which is fortunately loosely defined) and has no shortage of talented contributors to draw upon.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Forrest Fang, Thierry Zaboitzeff, Julie Tippetts (Driscoll), Martin Archer, Ángel Ontalva, Dave Newhouse (Manna / Mirage), Michel Delville, Eclectic Maybe Band

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