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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

Claude Barthelemy
L’Orchestra national de jazz (ONJ)
La Fete de L’eau
Le Chant du Monde 2741228



  1. La Fete de L’Eau
  2. Sparadrap
  3. Corvisart
  4. Avec Titre
  5. Badgag
  6. Mama Barth Blue
  7. Catenaires
  8. S&R
  9. Montbernage-Queen
  10. Oud-Oud
  11. Hato-Hati
  12. Giant Steps
  13. J’ai la memoire qui flanche
  14. Two Bass beat
  15. Byron.

Jean-Luc Landsweerdt - Drums
Vincent Limouzin - Vibraphone, Marimba, Gamelon & Percussion
Nicolas Mahieux- Bass
Didier Ithursarry - Accordion
Alex Therain - Guitar
Claude Bartholomey - Guitar
Pascal Benech - Bass trombone
Jean-Louis Pommier - Trombone
Sebastion Llado - Trombone, Alto trombone
Geoffrey Tamisier - Trumpet
Mederic Collignon - Cornet
Vincent Mascart - Tenor & Soprano
Philippe Lemoine - Alto, Sop & Baritone

My extremely limited French makes it impossible for me to comment on the background to ONJ, (The sleeve note is exclusively in the French language), I will confine myself therefore to the music. The CD, which was recorded in 2002/3, would best be described as contemporary, the arrangements are as you would expect are extremely complex. It took a few minutes playing before even ‘Giant Steps’ showed itself!

Like many contemporary ensembles, the ability of the musicians is not in question, the standard throughout is of world class, but does it add up to an enjoyable musical experience - well sometimes it does, but not all the time, some parts seem weird for the sake of being so. I do like the fact that there is an attempt to give the music a ‘French’ feel and this ensemble could not be accused of copying anyone.

My guess would be that fans of the Gil Evans Orchestra and other similar outfits will find this a fascinating musical experience. For me it’s a step too far from the roots of jazz for me to enjoy it.

Don Mather

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