NoJazz - Bringing Jazz Into The New Millennium

By MusicDish [12-03-2002]

"Candela featuring Mangu"
(Streaming Windows Media Video)
Bandwidth: High - Low

In the top echelon of music and bands now in France, there's Paris' own noJazz, the band about which Le Monde, the most "intellectual" of the daily newspapers, questioned; "Is noJazz the future of Jazz?"

Their name comes simply, organically, from their initial rehearsals, during compositional forays, when someone in the band said to someone else (one of the most respected young Parisian horn players from the Jazz tradition), "no jazz." The name, and perhaps the music, is polemic, in and of itself, a challenge to themselves (and listeners?) to go beyond the restrictions of a genre two of them called "home." "Booyaka, booyaka, no limits in my kingdom." Just like for the three other musicians to go beyond the restrictions of their musical bag of tricks to create a new fused genre, or at least, at best, bring "Jazz" back to the syncopated, danceable rhythms, words, modalities and melodies of the world, that gave Jazz universal appeal back in the day. noJazz - the name and the band - is for fun, a provocation, a dance, a joke, double entendre, circle of meaning and memorable in every language. (The Japanese written version is the most beautiful the band's seen so far on albums now being released throughout the world.)

RealAudio: "El Primero"

To this aficionado, listening almost since birth and a true believer in the power and beauty of many forms of Jazz, from Louis and Kid Ory to Sun Ra, from Duke to the Art Ensemble, from Benny Goodman to Coltrane, from marching bands to B.(Lefonque) Marsalis; "Jazz" can use some noJazz. Of course, most Jazz listeners and musicians, in Paris and throughout the world also listen to other "musics." In the two years the band's been together, noJazz has witnessed Teo Macero (producer of Miles, Mingus, Ellington and noJazz’ eponymous first album on Warner Jazz and World in France), Roy Hargrove, Joshua Redman, Danilo Perez, Kurt Elling and many other well known and often more "traditional" jazz musicians, grooving, dancing and enjoying themselves to the live performances of noJazz. Ry Cooder personally listened to and "ok'd" the first approved sample of the Buena Vista Social Club album vocal in "Candela," their collaboration with Mangu and first single/video.

RealAudio: "Candela Featuring Mangu - Radio Edit"

Enough name droppin'; they (Philippe Balatier - Balat (keys), Philippe Sellam - Slam (sax), Pascal Reva - Bilbo (drums/gtr), Michael Chekli - DJ Spider Mike (turntables) and Guillaume Poncelet - Crazy Bill (trumpet) be droppin' "the bomb." "This French quintet offer up a spirited romp through every soulful flavour under the sun, from drum 'n' bass to merengue to celebrate the finer sides of life." (Kevin Hainey Toronto Eye) and ."..swirling, otherworldly fusion of sweaty funk, detached techno and hard bebop that overflows with sheer exuberance and playful, relentless grooves." (Ottawa Xpress)

The noJazz live shows are veritable events; from packing a small jazz club two years ago, with almost everyone dancing - in a jazz club!, to selling out in advance their last Paris Jazz Festival concert. The other (free) Jazz festival in Paris they played two months earlier this summer had all the fans standing/dancing on their chairs under the tent, with thousands others outside on the lawns, something (the chair dancing), which had never been witnessed before by the programmer in hundreds of "Jazz" shows. At the Groove Stage of the Montreal Jazz Festival this summer, there were more than ten thousand new fans dancing/jumping each of two nights and the first concert was called by the main daily newspaper La Presse a "..Revelation;… Piece de resistance..." of the first night (with many international superstars also performing at the festival that evening).

RealAudio: "Urgence"

Upcoming dates for NoJazz live include:
December 6th - Club Reverb, Toronto, 11.30 pm,
December 7th - The Makor, NYC, 9 pm,
December 8th - CB's Lounge, NYC, 10 pm,
December 9th - Gonzalez Y Gonzalez, NYC, 8.30 pm, FREE
December 10th - The Village Underground NYC, 11 pm after the Jim Rose Side Show Circus
December 11th - The Cabaret Club, Montreal, 9.30
December 13th - The Conga Room, LA, 8.00
December 15th - Babylon, Ottawa, Ontario
December 16th - Kashmir Club, Quebec City

NoJazz is one of only three international priority artists for Warner Brothers France and are set to do a major US tour, after the US album release, in May of 2003, as well as visiting many new unnojazzed territories this upcoming year.

Check them out in person, on disc, at these sites, or through your favorite search engine! Your eyes, ears and butt will be glad you did!


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