Perception — Perception and Friends + Mestari (1972-1973)
(Great Winds GW3156, 1972/2012, 2CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-06-28One of the members of the first graduating class of Magma, woodwind player Yochk’o (Jeff) Seffer joined up with three other like-minded players for a three-album free-jazz run in the early 1970s. The quartet, which included Didier Levallet on bass, drummer Jean-My Truong, and Siegfried Kessler covering piano, clavinet and flute, released their eponymous debut LP on the Futura label in 1971 (since reissued on CD by Mellow in 2001). The package at hand reissues Perception’s second and third LPs, Perception and Friends and Mestari, from ’72 and ’73 respectively, with almost an album’s worth of bonus tracks. What’s notable about Perception and Friends is the absence of Kessler on all but one of the five cuts, replaced on the others by Manuel Villaroel on piano. There are also a number of additional players sitting in, track depending (the Friends), including Magma alums Luis Toesca (trumpet) and Teddy Lasry (soprano sax & clarinet), plus Daniel Brulé on trombone, and three of the cuts feature multiple cello players, which all taken give this album a very different feel than its predecessor, or Mestari that followed. Like all free-jazz, things get a little chaotic at times, especially when there are that many cooks in the kitchen, but most of the music here is composed, just offering plenty of windows for improvisation. With Mestari, Perception went back to the core quartet (with Kessler returning on strictly electric piano, and penning one of the album’s finest cuts, opener “Chott Djerid”). In fact the album proper contains only three long tunes, the others written by Seffer and Levallet. Still jazz, still very free, but with a few less musicians in the mix going off in every direction, Mestari overall seems a lot more satisfying. Also of note is the bonus track “Waiting For Moby Dick,” featuring a reformed Perception in August ’79 featuring only Levallet and Seffer. By the end of ’73 Seffer and Truong would join up with bassist Joel Dugrenot, keyboardist Francois Cahen and singer Mauricia Platon for the first edition of Zao, and the rest is history. There’s a lot of excellence to be heard here in these two brilliant slabs of French jazz.
Related artist(s): Perception
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
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