In memory of Johnny Peret

In memory of Johnny Peret
In memory of my friend Johnny Peret, vibist, drummer, accordeonist extraordinaire

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Lotsa people have been trying to get hold of a copy of this very unique Belgian LP.  To the best of my knowledge, only one track had ever been posted in the blogsphere ("Extra Pol-Action").  Well, here is the whole album, eventually.
I've owned a copy since it was released in 1970.  A friend of mine was talking drums lessons with Johnny Peret and introduced me to the album.  It was released on a small label based in Jette (one of 19 communes making up the Brussels Region) which  specialised in Renaissance / Early Baroque Music.  Their only foray into jazz was The Cotton City Jazzband, a popular Dixieland outfit.
Babs Robert Quartet was something completely different and remained the only Alpha release in the field of avant-garde jazz.

The musicians:
The original quartet was made of Babs Robert (sax), Johnny Brouwers (piano), Paul Dubois (bass) and Johnny Peret or Robert Pernet (drums).  For this session the original quartet was expanded into a septet as Johnny Peret took the vibes (and percussions) chair while  John Van Rjimenant (saxes) and Michel Gobbe (bass) were added.  In addition to their main instrument(s), they all played a whole range of exotic, mostly percussions, instruments.

The sleeve notes were by Jo Dekmine, director of the famous Theatre 140 in Brussels, and by Marc Moulin.

Trivia:  did you know that it was Robert Pernet who designed the "Ball of Eyes" on the cover of Placebo's first album (titled "Ball of Eyes") ?

Top: Robert and Johnny - Middle: band - Bottom: Robert
Link in comments.
With thanks to JC!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The Free Form's Sextet (1966) 
Contemporary Music 
Music by Paul Lambert and Francis Joan
7" - 45 rpm - METEOR GV1536

(POST UPDATED 19/07/2017)

Atomic No.1 b/w Atomic No.2 

Paul Lambert     piano (leader)

Christian de Greves    double bass
Andre Stordeur  vibraphone, drums
John Van Rijmenaent   alto sax
Claude Deron  trumpet
Ronald Lecourt  vibraphonne

This is a very strange and pretty rare 45 rpm.  I always wondered what these guys had in mind when they recorded these two sides of free improvisation on a single 7" ... it was the format to be played on a Jukebox ... But the music is everything but jukebox-friendly!

When I bought the 45 - in the early 70's for the modest sum of 5 Belgian Francs (12.5 Euro Cents), it did not have a sleeve.  Actually I did not even know there ever was one until I saw the picture (above) on Discogs. 
It's probably the best investment I ever did: it is now worth well over 200 EURO (with the sleeve).
According to Discogs, "Rarest Belgian free jazz 45" ... Fair enough but I do not know many other Free Jazz 45's, unless on counts the Brussels Art Quintet as "free".


The identity of Paul Lambert was for a long time a mystery to me.  There are two references to "Paul Lambert" in Robert Pernet's comprehensive Discography of Belgium Jazz, and it is assumed that it is the same person.  But is it conceivable that a pianist who recorded a couple of MOR novelty jazz sides around 1944 would pop up 22 years later at the head of a free improvisation aggregation with musicians half his age? Pretty unlikely to me.

Guess No.2 : could it be the same Paul Lambert who  was the keyboard (organ /piano) player in Belgian prog/hard rock band Irish Coffee?  Based on the info found in Discogs, yes, it is and his alias as a composer was ... Francis Joan.
Paul Lambert died in a car accident on 2 November 1974 on the E17 nearby Haasdonk (Belgium).

Christian de Greves : no info

Andre Stordeur : Belgian electronic music composer

John Van RijmenantActive as a jazz saxophonist during the 1960s (he was guest saxophonist on Babs Robert & the Love Planet)  Belgian John Van Rijmenant, joigned prog-rock bands Waterloo (along keyboard player Frank Wuyts, later in Aksak Maboul) and Necronomicon (pre-Univers Zéro) in the early 1970s. In the mid-1970s, he formed a duo with Kris Shannon called Pneuma Two. Later in the 1980s, Van Rymenant played saxophone on Geoff Leigh and Frank Wuyts‘ LP ‘From Here To Drums’, on No Man’s Land, Germany, 1988. US violinist and composer Michael Galasso, (1949-2009) became famous in the 1990s as a film soundtrack composer (In The Mood For Love, 2000), though he first composed stage music for director Robert Wilson in the 1970s, and later collaborated with choreographers Karole Armitage or Lucinda Childs. His first disc, Scenes,  was recorded in Germany in 1982 and released by ECM in 1983.

Claude Deron : a trumpet player who played with Alexander Von Schlippenback - Globe Unity Orchestra, was a member of prog-rock / Canterbury influenced bands such as Arkham, Necronomicon and Univers Zero. 

Ronald Lecourt : vibraphonist / free improviser, part of the important Flemish Free Jazz scene that developped in Antwerp and Ghent in the late sixties. Played with the likes of Fred Van Hove, Cel Overberghe, Steve Potts, Noel McGhie ...

Francis Joan, credited as composer , is an alias for Paul Lambert.

Link to new rip in comments (19/07/17). 

Saturday, February 5, 2011



I found this CD in a second-hand records shop in Toronto about ten years ago.  I didn't know anything about the band but a 16-pieces modern jazz orchestra seemed something worth investigating.  

If you like adventurous modern jazz orchestras that are not afraid of stretching the borders (think FlatEarth Society, UMO Jazz Orchestra, Either/Orchestra just to name a few...), you'll dig NOJO.

Despite its size, the 16-member Toronto based Neufeld-Occhipinti Jazz Orchestra, or NOJO, is not a typical big band by any stretch of the imagination. Likened more to avant-garde and free jazz artists like Henry Threadgill, Charles Mingus, and Thelonious Monk than to late jazz greats like Count Basie, Woody Herman, or Duke Ellington, the band is known for pushing the musical envelope with its visionary approach to sound and structure.

"Theirs is the most venturesome jazz orchestra in the city, if only for the example they take from writers such as Henry Threadgill and Kenny Wheeler and the influence they have found in the music of various African cultures," wrote jazz critic Mark Miller in the Globe and Mail. "It's tough, provocative jazz."

Formed in 1994 by York University classmates Paul Neufeld, a pianist, and Michael Occhipinti, a guitarist—both earned Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees from the university in 1992—the pair was seeking a suitable venue to showcase their skills as composers, honed in a jazz composition/arranging class with David Mott. Both played with smaller ensembles on their own—Occhipinti under his own name, and Neufeld with the Rhythm and Truth Brass Band, among others. To their surprise they found that a big band environment, although typically associated with oldstyle, swing jazz, was the perfect forum in which to combine their multi-layered compositions, which incorporate elements of world-beat, country, blues and experimental music in addition to jazz. "This band started as a workshop for our own material, and it continues to be the place where we teach ourselves and each other about writing music," Neufeld explained in Words & Music.

And that music, as some jazz musicians might say, is way out. "Neufeld and Occhipinti obviously enjoy being fractious and unpredictable, filling their compositions with lurching figures, curious turns and sudden developments that have the effect of keeping the musicians perpetually off-balance," Miller wrote in a 1997 review of one of the band's live performances.

While more established musicians were invited to give the group a try when Neufeld and Occhipinti began their venture, the pair ended up going with lesser-known artists to achieve their desired sound. "I think what works to our advantage is that there's a real youth factor to NOJO," Neufeld said. "There's an energy that comes from younger musicians and an open-mindedness that might not exist if we had some mainstream players."

That youth factor has created a sound which has garnered accolades practically from day one. NOJO's first album, which is self-titled, earned the 1995 Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year at the Juno Awards. 
"A lot of time has passed since the mainstream of jazz tradition was established," Neufeld said. "We both have strong feelings about jazz as a living tradition that's got to be relevant to what's happening now. We're not just looking to 1950s' Miles Davis as an inspiration—there are a lot of things that happened in the 1960s and 1970s that changed the way we look at music. It's important to take those things into account so the music's not a museum piece or treated like classical music."

"I love playing standards and I'm glad there are people who do it, but I'm also glad there are people doing newer things," Occhipinti added. "There are other jazz voices that need to be heard, and I think we're one of them."



1 Art of the Secret                          Occhipinti 10:16
2 Crime Fiction                                  Neufeld         10:17
3 Don't Hum (Slight Return)                  Occhipinti 11:42
4 Albert in Green                                  Neufeld           6:50
5 Warm Orange                                  Occhipinti 10:48
6 Somalia                                          Neufeld          7:04
7 MR.K.C. (For Keith Copeland)  Occhipinti   7:34
8 Moravagine (After Blais Cendrars)  Neufeld          8:32

Joe "Public" Allen   Flugelhorn, Soloist, Trumpet
Rob Clutton           Bass, Soloist
Colin Couch           Soloist, Tuba
Stephen Donald   Trombone
Jeff Elliot                  Assistant Engineer
Kenny Kirkwood  Sax (Baritone), Sax (Soprano), Shaker, Soloist, Triangle
David Mott         Conductor
Mike Murley         Sax (Soprano), Sax (Tenor), Soloist
Paul Neufeld         Fender Rhodes, Mixing, Piano
John Obercian         Drums, Soloist
Michael Occhipinti Guitar, Mixing, Photography, Soloist
Sean O'Connor        Clarinet, Flute, Sax (Soprano), Sax (Tenor), Soloist
Phil Strong        Mixing
Roy Styffe       Clarinet, Clarinet (Alto), Clarinet (Bass), Sax (Alto), Soloist
Scott Suttie      Euphonium, Soloist, Trombone (Bass)
Ernie Tollar      Flute, Sax (Alto), Sax (Soprano), Soloist
Kevin Turcotte      Flugelhorn, Soloist, Trumpet
André White      Engineer, Producer

Currently OOP.  Link in comments