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PaNoPTiCoN - Summer Madness - Live @ Jazz Marathon CD (album) cover

SUMMER MADNESS - LIVE @ JAZZ MARATHON

PaNoPTiCoN

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 1 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Every year since the late 80's, the great city of Brussels organizes a Jazz Festival week end in late May, precisely on the Eurovision Song Contest event, to offer its inhabitants and visitors an alternatives to that execrable talentless TV horror, letting the people discover all kinds of music from the Swing-Jazz to Jazz-Rock (I remember seeing the great Time Design Quartet one year) to Free-Jazz, Latino and Bluesy-Jazz artistes - if memory serves, even Aka Moon played one or two years. First called the Jazz Rally, the event peaked in the early 90's with over 80 cafs and bars opened, plus some 10 open air podiums featuring music, some place having live music until well-past the middle of the night. After a legal dispute, the concept of the event was transferred to the local authorities, changing the name to the Jazz Marathon, and getting rid of the symbolic crocodile playing sax, replacing it with a walking contrabass. Many do regret the Rally days today, as the formula hasn't changed that much (it's even free nowadays), but the group selection is much wiser and now integrates all types of music as long as it is not experimental. This in turn led me to gradually disconnect from the event, sometimes not even going there, because of an uninteresting (for yours truly) programme.

This is where PaNoPTiCoN's participation to such an event is actually quite a welcome surprise, because it had been a while since the event ad such a public-terror-inducing formation, and surprisingly, it went down quite well for the group's two sets, with young drunken female providing interesting exhibitions of skin and postures. This gig is now graced with one of Domenico's most successful artwork ever, with the tree-and-pond under fireworks illustration. That night, the often returning Antoine Guenet was on keys, replying to Delville's guitar and Rewski's strange sax intervention, his one-legged stance providing some unwanted Tullian remarks amongst my two buddies present there. Playing such an open festival is definitely not an easy task, because the event is not reserved to dedicated fans that might have paid a ticket, therefore a lot or profane spectators happened to view and listened more or less intently to PaNoPTiCoN's blazing two sets. Like at the Os Moelle gig, a lot of pre-set loops had an African edge, giving a voluntary reference to Hancock's Mwandishi formation, but if the group indeed first swayed in that direction, it digressed into a more hypnotic and rhythmic in Abroholo's Fields. The Mwandishi (meeting Coryell) feel returns slightly in Dark Pumpkins.

If that night's formation is obviously extremely concentrated at listening to their compadres, thus providing a well-needed tightness for a music genre that often oozes complacency and self-indulgence. It is not the case tonight, though, even if on occasion a member loses the thread, he finds again it rather quickly, but without precipitation. The group remained on solid ground that night, even if the occasional foray into dissonant territory happened. Starting on a near-tropical dawn insect-ridden soundscape, the Summer Maness title track, a sax emerges from the morning dew, soon evolving into a slight mid-eastern slant as if starting a cobra dance, with the rest of the band gradually increasing their role and intensity leading to a slow but ineluctable crescendo, before the afore-mentioned insects are making a comeback and slowing down the rhythm. .

As usual Domenico's ultra perfectionism led him to think this gig was catastrophic because of some sound-return problems, and he named the last part of the second set Rings of Urectum (why never Neptune??? ;o)))); but I'm sure his mind changed when he mastered the recording to its normal levels. That night's performance was one of the better that I've witnessed and will probably remain for me a very pleasant one in renewing with the Jazz Rally?..errhhh!!!.... Marathon.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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