Forgas Band Phenomena – Acte V – Cuneiform Records CD + DVD 332/333 (16:9, PCM Stereo, 75 min.) [TrackList follows] (07/4/12) ****:
(Patrick Forgas, drums; Sebastien Trognon, reeds; Dimitri Alexaline, trumpet & Flugelhorn; Benjamin Violet, guitar; Karolina Mlodecka, violin; Igor Brover, keyboards; Kengo Mochizuki, bass)
Patrick Forgas has been called the French answer to Robert Wyatt. At age 18 H says he has a life-changing experience when he discovered the second Soft Machine album. He’s been involved in progressive rock/bop/jazz – often with an influence of Eastern European ethnic music. One reviewer compared his work to Return to Forever, Weather Report or Frank Zappa’s instrumental works, but this album – their first I’ve been familiar with – sounds to me more like a European version of early jazz-rock such as Blood, Sweat and Tears.
This particular seven-member band has been together for five years, and on this, the fifth Forgas Band album, they present on the DVD a sort of survey of past albums in the seven selections heard. The sessions, both on the CD and DVD, are upbeat, and with the trumpet and sax giving a sort of big band touch. The album title – Acte V – has something to do with a 1926 book which Forgas likes, titled The Dust of Suns. All the selections are led by the non-noisy and careful drumming of Forgas, with both the trumpeter and violinist getting off some abandoned solos at times.
The DVD is 16:9 format and professionally shot on video at the 2010 NEARFest in Bethlehem, PA in June of that year (with an audience of over 1000), but the band had performed earlier at another NEARFest in Seoul, Korea. If you’re a fusion or jazz-rock fan, you would probably enjoy the Forgas Band, as well as some of the other similar European groups.
CD: Cops et Ames, Loin d’Issy, George V, Ultraviolet, Feu Sacré, Midi-Minuit
DVD: Ultraviolet, L’Axe du Fou, Feu Sacré, Soleil 12, Double Sens, Extralucide, Eclipse
A Virtuosic Quietude in Hough’s rendering of Mompou “Música Callada”