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JACQUES THOLLOT

RIO/Avant-Prog • France


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Jacques Thollot biography
French drummer Jacques Thollot started playing with jazz bands at an early age towards the end of the 1950's, being recognized as a prodigy child. One can find clips of him from 1958 playing the drums at the age of 13 in a night club with a jazz band (Barney Wilen Trio). He would pass his teenage years in this surrounding developing his musical vision which would be much wider and more experimental than what he used to play during that time.
His first release, which is also the most striking one, released on the Futura Records in 1971, is called "Quand Le Son Devient Aigu, Jeter La Giraffe A La Mer"; it is a splendid example of spacey-like, fragile and imaginative compositional style fusing jazz, electronic experiments, psychedelic elements and rock together, culminating in a blissful listening experience and it has earned Thollot the place in the NWW list.
Thollot went on to release 4 more albums, "Watch The Devil Go" (1975), Résurgence (1977), Cinq Hops (1978) and most recently Tenga Niña (1996). Whereas the first album is the one of most interest to those looking for the avant-prog/experimental side of his, the others are more jazz-oriented and include vocals. Of these the most notable and recommended is Cinq Hops with its more structured and direct approach (compared to Quand Le Son.) and contains and female-vocals fronting in a chant-like style with the rest of the band providing an ethereal atmosphere, making this a very pleasant album to listen to with a touch of Magma-like zeuhl elements and style.

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JACQUES THOLLOT discography


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JACQUES THOLLOT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.09 | 4 ratings
Quand Le Son Devient Aigu, Jeter La Girafe A La Mer.
1971
3.67 | 3 ratings
Watch Devil Go
1975
4.00 | 3 ratings
Résurgence
1977
3.14 | 3 ratings
Cinq Hops
1978
2.00 | 1 ratings
Tenga Niña
1996

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JACQUES THOLLOT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cinq Hops by THOLLOT, JACQUES album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.14 | 3 ratings

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Cinq Hops
Jacques Thollot RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Of Thollot's late 70's discography, Cinq hops is probably the best or most estimed and probably his most accessible as well. First of all there is singing (Elise Ross), but second, it's almost as if Thollot was the leader of a group as well, although giving you the names wouldn't get you very far, unless you're deeply involved in the French jazz scene. Third, this is probably the album of his most easily to classify, other than avant-garde: Jazz Rock-Zeuhl with a touch of RIO. The album's title is a play on words of the jazz syncopation with Cinq Hops, and the abstract sleeve artwork.

The first part of the album is made of longer (usually sung) tracks that are separated by shorter (from 17 seconds to 101 seconds) instrumental pieces, sometimes a single instrument, others short bizarre montage (Rush) or orchestrated bits (Rush & Grand siècle). Starting on the classical-inspired On The Mountain (the bald one is my guess), with Elise Ross' singing over an electric piano, the album startles by its succession of weird turns in musical direction with the Four Four Five Eight (time sig) of a keyboard and drum duet and once more with Turning On My Mind (probably the most spell-binding track of the album that has some definitive Zeuhl influences, thollot sounding like Vander on this track. The album's longest track Aprelude is a great 8-minutes upbeat piece of music centred on Céléa's stand-up bass (and even includes a solo) as well as Thollot's drums. Nowhere is more evident the Zeuhl influence in Elise Ross' singing than in Seven, where she's countered first, then enhanced by a soprano sax.

But now well into the flipside, the succession of longer and shorter piece is now interrupted by having two short pieces in a row, the second of which presents the wild drumbeat & percussion duo Sur 9 Temps. Gomind ventures into semi-operatic singing, accompanied with a sax and bass, somehow reminiscent of Debussy. The title track song that resumes best the album's different elements, a bit of a conclusion avant la lettre. Lumière Tourangelle borders Univers Zero and Art Zoyd's realm and the finale does the same on piano.

Although still a bizarre album by normal standard, Cinq Hops is definitely the best entry point in Thollot's discography, and certainly his best work as well, although I have yet to revisit his previous album, not heard in some 20 years and I didn't get it at the time. Here, today, I finally "get" Cinq Hops' rich realm and lack of musical barriers

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 Quand Le Son Devient Aigu, Jeter La Girafe A La Mer. by THOLLOT, JACQUES album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.09 | 4 ratings

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Quand Le Son Devient Aigu, Jeter La Girafe A La Mer.
Jacques Thollot RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Rounding it off to the upper star!!

First album from now-experimental instrumentalist (but mostly drummer/percussionist) Jacques Thollot, but this early 70's album is not representative of his classic phase second half of 70's era. This strangely titled album (roughly translating to throw the giraffe in the sea water, if the sound is too high-pitched) was released on the rare and experimental Futura label known for some very obscure and free form music coming from France. While the artwork gracing the cover is enticing and intriguing enough, the music is not exactly reflecting the hope raised by its cover, with some 15 instrumental tracks ranging from the short to the mid-length, a good deal of them featuring a sole instrument, but if often the drums, not necessarily a percussion instrument either, but piano and other keyboards as well.. There are some electronic noises and other bizarrenesses on some tracks, some can be a bit intriguing, others only interesting if you're a musician yourself.

It's hard to recommend this album to anyone, unless he's a fan to the musician's works, but even then such unbridled and totally unconventional music experiments, even if many or countless others albums sounds much more dissonant is impossible to take much. Anyway, this Giraffe album doesn't sound much like his more Zeuhlian mid-70's albums, which are much more recommendable.

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 Tenga Niña by THOLLOT, JACQUES album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Tenga Niña
Jacques Thollot RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

— First review of this album —
2 stars This is a retrospective of Jacques' early life as a child prodigy, when as a child and later as a teen, he played drummer behind some jazz's legendary figures and I feel I have to write a small review to warn you to stay away from this album unless you're into straight 60's jazz and are not expecting anything remotely close to Thollot's late 70's main body of work. Inside, you'll find material spread over three or four decades that don't have much to do with your musical search, especially if you were looking for Zeuhl-laced jazz-rock. In either case, this album is best avoided, unless you're a completist.

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