Exposé Online banner

Jean-Pascal Boffo — Nomades
(Musea FGBG 4100.AR, 1994, CD)

by Peter Thelen, 1994-08-01:

Nomades Cover art The master of surprises is back. Apparently this was to be his fifth album, but work on a fourth album became too expensive and time consuming, so it was temporarily placed on the back burner — so in the ten years since the demise of his original group Troll, he has released four albums which bear little or no resemblance to one another. Nomades is no exception, I would have been hard pressed to identify it as a Boffo album had I not known before playing it. The basic music here occupies an unlikely area between world-jazz and lite-instrumental rock, possibly somewhere along the Windham Hill axis, with a profusion of Arabic and North-African influences. Boffo's guitar lacings are eloquent and fluid, as might be expected, yet on some of the tracks the guitar doesn't assert itself and gets lost in a sea of dreamy orchestrations or sax wanderings. The finest moments on Nomades are those when Boffo's guitar is firmly in control, with strong melodies provided by the violin of Florence Dionisio and/or the soprano sax of Gerard Delesse, tied to earth by the strong percussive anchorings of Hervé Rouyer. When Rouyer and Boffo ease up and yield too much to the sax and synths, the music starts to stray off into new-age territory. Finally, I am often tempted to compare this with Bag's Soudain l'éleéhant, yet Nomades only achieves that kind of driving force in its most powerful moments; still, the best material on this disc (the title track, "Turbulence," "Opprande," "Snake's Dance," "Levana") shines easily through its weaknesses.

by Rob Walker, 1994-08-01:

The long-awaited fourth solo album from French guitarist Jean-Pascal Boffo is in many ways a fusion of the various styles he explored on his first three albums. Nomades is a musical journey through a strange and mysterious aural landscape, full of eastern influences. Ethnic percussion, modal scales, and prominent use of the violin and soprano saxophone help to create a beautifully exotic atmosphere which serves as a foundation to showcase Boffo's considerable talent and versatility. The CD opens and closes with short pieces featuring classical guitar stylings reminiscent of Ralph Towner. Boffo's electric guitar skills emerge in the intervening eight songs, which alternately feature his soaring guitar melodies and his elegant background work, allowing the violin and sax ample spotlight as well. The overall sound is at times similar to Oregon or the Paul Winter Consort, but much more energetic and driving. For a guitarist's solo album, Boffo displays admirable restraint, only stepping forward when the music requires it. He has a keen sense of musical texture, and this CD is as much a testament to Boffo's creativity as a composer as anything else. The songs provide vivid musical depictions of various eastern themes, hinted at in titles like "Caravane," "Snake's Dance," "Turbulences," and "Arabesques." Usually an undesireable element in progressive music, the repetitive rhythms and percussion are here a critical part of the overall atmosphere. The product of all of this is a haunting yet beautiful musical portrait. For those who have looked forward to this album’s release for years, Nomades will most certainly prove more than worth the wait.

by Dan Casey, 1994-08-01:

Some will recall J.P. Boffo as one of the original members of Troll and naturally expect (or perhaps hope for) a strong zeuhl influence on this effort. Well, you certainly won't find it here. Which is not to say the album is devoid of the zeuhl tradition, but it is only alluded to briefly in a couple of places. However, Nomades is still a success in many regards. The emphasis here is exclusively in the jazz realm, with ethnic and Middle Eastern melodies as the focus for each of the album's ten cuts. Boffo milks his Stratocaster for everything it's worth, using classic clean tones for rhythm and soaring lead tones for melodies and solos. In fact, some of his soloing is so classy and tasteful that one wonders why he doesn't do it more often within the well-defined framework of his finely-honed compositional chops. Boffo's understanding of the importance of melody is refreshing, and the whole album is very professional, to say the least. On the down side, some of the occasional sequenced lines are rather cold and mechanical. More importantly, the album focuses too tightly on a single style, which without offering enough variety to the listener will certainly limit the shelf life. It should also be re-emphasized that the music here only touches on the progressive realm (it's much more a jazz album than anything else) but because of Boffo's background it is likely to be endearing to a lot of prog fans.

Filed under: New releases , Issue 4 , 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Jean Pascal Boffo

More info

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cast - Laguna de Volcanes – After thirty or forty albums sung in English, Cast here present a set of their best tunes with the vocals redone in Spanish. OK, I'm exaggerating – they only have nine studio albums and two...  (2000) » Read more

Sylvan - Deliverance – Here's a well-recorded album by an obviously polished German group filled with interesting ideas. I'm sorry to say that those ideas don't always work, such as "A Fairytale Ending," but I appreciate...  (1999) » Read more

Collage - Moonshine – Well, this album gets off on the wrong foot, but definitely ends up on the right one. The album opens with some heavy keyboards and drums and then the vocals come in... and you can't understand a damn...  (1995) » Read more

Nekropolis & Peter Frohmader - Live & Stringed Works – For those of you disillusioned with the lack of early Frohmader / Nekropolis reissues on CD (whatever happened to the plans on the Sensorium label?), here's the reissues of Nekropolis' live...  (1995) » Read more

Incandescent Sky - Four Faradays in a Cage – This band is now up to their fourth full-length release of improvised music, and it’s an amazingly coherent effort, not at all random-sounding or chaotic. Their focus has always been more on...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues