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A double CD by the French free improvising ensemble Hubbub recording live in 2010: CD1 in concert at Festival Muzzix, La Malterie, Lille; CD2 at Carre Bleu, Poitiers.

Whobub [2 CDs]

Hubbub: Whobub [2 CDs] (Matchless)
Label: Matchless    
Released in: Great Britain    

"The great surprise with the French quintet Hubbub comes with seeing them in performance before you've heard one of their recordings. Five men walk on stage, two carry saxophones, one a guitar, the pianist and drummer sit down at their instruments. It looks like a conventional notion of a band, the sole concession to the world of electronics the Gibson Les Paul, itself a guitar design that has changed little in the past sixty years. Every instrument carries with it the expectation of a characteristic envelope, the attack and decay of individual sounds. And then Hubbub starts to play and that visual presence remains in place, almost a tableau, as warm reminder and comforting insistence on the acoustic experience and the tradition of watching people play musical instruments rather than laptops, oscillators, synths and sampling machines. In Hubbub's hands every technique for the typically discrete sound is regularly exchanged for a drone. Bowing is as typical of Hubbub as it is of I Musici. The piano is sometimes bowed (a la Stephen Scott and C. Curtis-Smith); the cymbals are bowed; the guitar is sometimes bowed, with the additional use of volume knobs to erase the picked or bowed attack. The saxophonists employ circular breathing and multiphonics as they create continuous waves of sound, and the effect can at times resemble a vast organ chord swimming with random micro-details-beat patterns between pipes, the scurry of a mouse, the click of a stop. Within that often continuous sound that Hubbub favors-the sound so completely unlike the band's name-there is continuous and constant evolution so that that music that you think sounds the same as it did five minutes ago may not, upon examination, sound similar at all.

So devoted is the group to a kind of continuous sound and organic whole that the two-CD Whobub lists the group's members without identifying instruments, but here they are anyway: Frédéric Blondy, piano; Bertrand Denzler, tenor saxophone; Jean-Luc Guionnet, alto saxophone; Jean-Sébastién Mariage, guitar; and Edward Perraud, percussion. There may be additional instruments used, but somehow I don't think so. Whobub documents two performances, each an emblem of the kind of gradual unfolding of which the group are masters. "Who," the first disc, is a single 43-minute piece, expanding and unfolding with a kind of focused calm. It begins in relatively isolated and identifiable sounds, most notably Mariage's bare, sustained guitar notes struck with a pick. Other sounds enter discreetly, some clearly traceable to an individual instrument, others not; densities shift, time stretches, and there's a kind of calm that is very close to listening to nature (human nature?), as if silence is being gently embellished. "Bub 1," its 32 minutes the bulk of the second performance, has stretches of extraordinary delicacy, including a lengthy phase in which Guionnet's whispering harmonics creating a kind of sonic veil with Perraud's tinkling Zen-monastery percussion and Blondy's whistling string glissandi. The brief "Bub 2" continues to develop the same attenuated atmosphere, the group becoming a kind of close-mic'd and multiply-amplified gong. As with Hubbub's previous recorded performances, the constant subtle gradations and close interactions create a kind of panoramic unity, abrasions and pleasantries alike folding into a larger tapestry.

As his work with Hubbub indicates, Bertrand Denzler is an ardent explorer of saxophone sonics, and his solo work on the CD Tenor is fearless, demanding work. The opening "Filters" begins with the contrasting of long iterations of the same harsh note alternated with periods of extended silence, setting up dialectics between presence and absence, duration and rhythm. The lengths of the notes and silences will vary, but Denzler keeps up the pattern for all of "Filters'" 17 minutes, microscopically varying the same note with shifts in embouchure, fingering and breathing that introduce different harmonics. It's insistent work, demanding the utmost in concentration on the listener's part as well as Denzler's, the tones and silences expanding to create a universe. The other pieces are in some sense less daunting. The gentler "Signals" has significantly more variety-rhythmic, timbral and tonal-as it carries the variations in technique to the point where an overtone will dominate; the relatively brief "Airtube" (11'49") breaks down the saxophone into its series of component tubes, the sound of breath barely hinted at in "Filters" now dominant. Clearly this is not music for everyone (that, too, might be hard to imagine), but its improvisation of the highest discipline, ready to reward those kinds of listening that are commensurate with it."-Stuart Broomer, Point of Departure June 2011

"Jean-Jacques Avenel, born 16 June 1948 in Saint-Nicolas-d'Aliermont ( Seine-Maritime ) and died 12 August 2014. He was a jazz bassist, a faithful companion to Steve Lacy, and participated in many other musical adventures. He was interested especially in African music, the kora and tradition Mandingo.

Jean-Jacques Avenel was self-taught, although he subsequently benefit from the lessons of Kent Carte. He began his career by participating in the free jazz movement, playing with Steve Waring, Colette Magny, Don Cherry, and with Noah Howard, the quartet of Frank Wright and Intercommunal Free Dance Music Orchestra training François Tusques. He also accompanies the saxophonist Daunik Lazro.

From 1975, he began to be associated with different formations led by Steve Lacy. Trio, sextet, quartet... But also the quintet consisting addition Lacy and Avenel, saxophonist Steve Potts, drummer Oliver Johnson and pianist Bobby Few, often with the singer Irene Aebi. A long collaboration begins. He accompanied Steve Lacy for nearly 30 years, performing in many festivals and other places in Europe and the United States, and participating in more than twenty albums recordings. He had also the opportunity to accompany Butch Morris in 1980, and David Murray in the 1990s.

He participated in the achievements of Michel Edelin and particularly in the quartet with Simon Goubert and Jacques Di Donato since 1995. More recently, he worked with young European pianists Benoît Delbecq, and Gael Mevel. And with American Mal Waldron and Australian Chris Cody. Plus work with Richard Galliano, George Lewis, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Dino Saluzzi, Paul Bley, and other.

He also regularly collaborated with François Raulin. In 2000, at the 38th festival Roaring, Avenel, Raulin and Adama Drame together created the ARD trio, training mixing European jazz tradition and the Mandingo. Jean-Jacques Avenel passion for African music and plays the kora, in addition to the bass. In 2004, Avenel and Sissokho surrounded themselves Lansiné Kouyaté, Moriba Koita and Michel Edelin for Waraba project ( "the lion" in language Bamana ). Then in 2006, he formed the trio DAG Domancich and Simon Goubert.

He died of cancer August 12, 2014."

-Wikipedia (translated by Google, assisted by Squidco) (

See all items in the Matchless category

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related

Improvised Music
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
Free Improvisation
Quintet Recordings

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Price: $33.95
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Shipping Weight: 3.00 units

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Product Information:

UPC: 502049208022

Label: Matchless
Catalog ID: MRCD80
Squidco Product Code: 14659

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2011
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: 2 CDs in a gatefold double sleeve
CD 1 recorded in concert by Patrice Thery at Festival Muzzix, La Malterie, Lille, France on April 23rd, 2010. CD 2 recorded by Pierre-Henri Thiebaut at Carre Bleu, Poitiers, France on February 12th, 2010.


Frederic Blondy

Bertrand Denzler

Jean Luc Guionnet

Jean-Sebastien Mariage

Edward Perraud

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Track Listing:

CD 1

1. Who 43:25

CD 2

1. Bub 1 32:35

2. Bub 2 10:17