L'Ensemble Rayé — Quelques Pièces Détachées
(AYAA CDT 0993, 1993, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-08-01The core of L'Ensemble Rayé is Cédric Vuille (guitars, bass, clarinet, keys, ukelele, bandurria, percussion), Jean-20-Huguenin (guitars, mandolin) and Pierre Kaufmann (saxes, clarinets, piano, percussion), augmented by other musicians on guitars, drums, violin, saxes, bass and so on, with different groups of musicians featured on different tracks. Both Vuille and Huguenin were once members of the eccentric Swiss band Debile Menthol, who have several albums to their credit; Kaufmann once played with them as well. This is the second album by this group (the first was Même en Hiver/Comme un Pinson dans l'Eau from 1990). The sound is primarily acoustic based, tending to focus on short, quirky instrumental pieces with the guitar being by far the dominant instrument on many of the songs, with clarinet second in command. The music here is very unique - a pleasant mix of jazzy and classical styles of uncertain origin played with impeccable precision, often with idiosyncratic melodies and odd meter - thus easy comparisons are difficult, but the spirit of Albert Marcoeur, ZNR, Joel Dugrenot and others are alive and well within the writing style. The tracks are nearly split between 'solo' pieces like the positively amazing "Rag'n'râle" and "Phare EST" (both solos by Huguenin), and those involving the entire ensemble, like "Migrateurs," "Les Dons de Castor," and "Cheval Vapeur." Fourteen tracks in all. More than anything, though, this is a guitar album, a must-have for fans of the instrument. Like Fred Frith, Larry Coryell, Chet Atkins and many others, Huguenin and Vuille take the guitar to new heights while transcending many of the convenient classifications along the way, stretching its capabilities and illustrating it's potential. That alone makes this one of the best new albums I've heard yet this year, and will earn it a place next to other great great guitar albums in my collection.
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more