Jean-Pascal Boffo — Nomades
(Musea FGBG 4100.AR, 1994, CD)
by Peter Thelen, 1994-08-01: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.
Related artist(s): Jean Pascal Boffo
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more