counterfnord

Gigs, dance, art

September 6th, 2008: Free Form Funky Freqs / James Chance & les Contorsions

@cabaret sauvage.

Again, part of the la villette jazz festival. Pretty much stretching that jazz label, and it’s gonna get stretched some more. I was not expecting too much from that gig, because my knowledge of some performers was from a long time ago, and I’ve been burned before.

First was James Chance & Les Contorsions. Yes, “les contorsions”, as opposed to the original “the contortions”. Seems that these french guys have been his backing band in Europe for a few years. Proficient and efficient, but not particularly interesting. For me that set had its good and bad moments, all depending on James Chance himself. The highs consistently came when he grabbed his sax for a short burst or two. In a sense, the low point was during his James Brown covers — maybe he should have just skipped the dancing part. Maybe the place was just too big or nice, but there was something missing. Some sense of urgency maybe? Not a bad set, but not that good either.

Anyway, I was more curious about Vernon Reid‘s project, despite my having not even heard his name since the days of Living Color. Of course, the first half of that band’s name could only make me pay attention: Free Form Funky Freqs. I think it’s a pretty new project, because they said “thirty five” several times, which I interpreted as this being their thirty-fifth performance. Of course I could be wrong about that. What I do know is that is was a great one. They must have played for twenty minutes straight and paused only a few times over well more than one hour.

Vernon Reid is not just still a great guitar player, he’s way better than he used to be. But Jamaaladeen Tacuma on bass and G. Calvin Weston on drums were holding their own as well. Funky and freaks, sure, but I think free form nails it best: it would be hard to stick a label on their thing. Or it would have to be pretty big to accomodate many genres. Why bother anyway? It was good music, and probably even better live. Fast most of the time, but they did slow down at times, they were really good at chaning pace seamlessly without losing any of their drive and intensity. I gotta be on the lookout for their next stop around here, because they will probably only get better.

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September 7, 2008 - Posted by | Music | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I saw Weston and Tacuma at that same festival few years ago but with Ribot and i really like it, really varied music… variety music is somehow a name I like in fact, in the sense, open wide , wild, anyway, yeah these two guys are so good together, free and rythmic, quite rare… btw, hello Fred!!!!

    Comment by Bellenger Alexandre | September 9, 2008 | Reply


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