Brigitte Fontaine, Areski Belkacem and The Art Ensemble of Chicago – Comme À La Radio

• “Comme À La Radio” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to HondaBeatH6.

9.2 “Classic Jazz from France”

From her third album “Comme À La Radio “ (Saravah SH-10006) released in 1970.

My album review:

The restless actress from Brittany, by now 31, had branched out into singing and composing several years earlier. Most of the pieces that made up her third LP, “Comme À La Radio” were originally aired in her theatre production of the same name, which also featured her trusted cohort Areski Belkacem, adept in many instruments and an extremely talented percussionist, with special expertise in North African rhythms and motifs. His talents are to the fore on this LP, so much so that he is given co-authorship of all works alongside Brigitte who is, of course, the most compelling presence of all, with her amazing voice, her vocal chords being just as capable of free form improvisation as any of the instrumentalists themselves! By sheer chance, they too happened to be playing at the same time and place as the Art Ensemble of Chicago and shared artistic visions were subsequently conceived and played out via this collaborative LP. The 4 Chicagoans were: Malachi Favors (bass); Roscoe Mitchell (flute); Lester Bowie (trumpet) and Joseph Jarman (oboe, sax). Also lending a shoulder to the project were local musicians: Albert Guez (lute); Jean-François Jenny-Clark (bass); Jacques Higelin (guitar); Jean-Charles Capon (cello); Kakino De Paz (zither) and Léo Smith (trumpet). Quite the ensemble! 9 of the 10 pieces were brand new; only the album’s closer, “Lettre À Monsieur Le Chef De Gare De La Tour Carol”, had been out previously, when it was billed only to “Brigitte Fontaine” (no Art Ensemble members played) as a 45, paired with “Le Noir C’est Mieux Choisi” in 1969. Always weird and often wonderful – this album is a must-listen for the left-field musical adventurer.

You can check out the rest of my album reviews for the year here.

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