lips on fire

Horny tribute to Jimi HENDRIX

with :
Sylvain BARDIAU | trumpet
Frédéric GASTARD | bass saxophone
Matthias MAHLER | trombone

Ultra Music Nights, Pori Jazz 2012 © Maarit Kytöharju

Jimi Hendrix wasn’t just the all-time greatest guitar wrangler, but also a totally unprejudiced and passionate musical maverick, who always looked for the unmapped territory, while simultaneously building a cosmic bridge between endless space and timeless blues. That’s why Jimi would have dug Journal Intime, because the French horn trio understands all that, loves Hendrix and particularly gives his music a new life without imitating the original. Check out the red hot Lips On Fire album (2010) to prepare for the new Hendrix experience. Journal Intime is a unique union of three top-notch French avant-jazz adventurers. They have created the dancing brass band Les Faux Frères. Bass saxist Frederic Gastard and trombonist Matthias Mahler both play in Marc Ducret Real Thing #1 (quintet) and Marc Ducret Tower-Bridge (12 musicians). Trumpet player Sylvain Bardiau worked with the Orchestre National de Jazz. All of them have played with La Campagnie des Musiques à Ouïr, and have worked with many chanson singers. On top of jazz, they all have played funk, reggae, salsa and afro. So, yes, they are experienced.

Jussi Niemi, Pori Jazz 2012

Founded in 2006, trio Journal Intime is playing a rare complicity in ensemble music and improvisation, moving freely in between wind music without any etiquette, with  remarkable compositions and adventurous arrangements. A unique experience of a trio with a nearly inexhaustible range of sound. They accompanied among others Jacques Higelin, André Minvielle, Tony Hymas, La Campagnie des musiques à Ouïr and Eric Lareine. They are also closely connected in collaboration with Rodolphe Burger, Marc Ducret and Vincent Peirani. Journal Intime ploughs through the French and European scene blowing and sweating a sophisticated and wild music that dances, sings, whispers and cries, and all with a rousing and complice request. An ode to a devilish electrifying acoustic music.

On the face of it, it’s akin to re-arranging Led Zeppelin for kazoo, which actually has been done, and is a hoot. Journal Intime, however, transcend the charge of gimmickry by dint of formidable technique, boundless energy and a courageous sense of adventure. What one hears – the audacity of it is staggering – is the tumult of the Jimi Hendrix Experience (that’s the Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding parts too), compressed into intermeshed parts for trumpet, bass saxophone and trombone. Hendrix’s electronically enhanced state-of-the-art, ‘out there’ music is here transcribed for a pocket brass ensemble operating in an acoustic medium. The increased physicality compensate for the lack of technology. The parts are all meshed together, so, if trumpeter Silvain Bardiau and trombonist Matthias Mahler are naturals to play the Hendrix role, and bass saxophonist Frederic Gastard is well-placed to carry the rhythm, that doesn’t prevent the latter from occasionally swooping an octave higher to essay a line of melody, whilst pumping and parping at the same time. Silvain Bardiau, the one player who operates in the top register, comes down from the skies, as it were, with an intensity that communicates pure exhilaration. At one point, during ‘Loverman’, Gastard was simultaneously slap-tonguing, circular breathing and singing through the bass saxophone. He seems to possess energy far above ordinary human capacity, but then Bardiau and Mahler each perform miracles of transformation. But do they sound anything like Jimi Hendrix? Lester Young, you may recall, always stressed the necessity of knowing the lyrics when playing a song. Journal Intime pass the Lester Young test on ‘All Along the Watchtower’. And ‘Angel’ is virtually played straight. It compares well with the Gil Evans version (Hendrix and Evans had plans to work together when the guitarist died). ‘1983… (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)’ is simply incredible, loyal to the other-worldliness of Jimi’s conception, and faithfully mirroring the complexities of the change from domestic deshabille to merman apotheosis. There’s some fishy goings-on with mouthpieces. Unbelievable!

Press review (FR + EN) LIPS ON FIRE here
Press review (FR + ES) CENTRAL AMERICA TOUR here
Press review (FR + FI) BALTIC TOUR here

album available here

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