Friday, July 16, 2021

Charlier - Sourisse Multiquarium Big Band feat. Biréli Lagrène - 2020 "Remembering Jaco"

 Jaco Pastorius is well worth remembering, so this new album by French big band Multiquarium would be welcome for that reason alone. But this is a superior collection by any standards. No single arranger is credited: one can only assume the job was a collaboration instigated by the band’s leaders, drummer André Charlier and pianist/organist Benoît Sourisse. Meanwhile, Biréli Lagrène (best known as a guitarist, although he sticks to fretless bass here), has the almost impossible task of living up to Pastorius’s legacy. Lagrène has certainly earned the right: as a guitarist, he played and recorded with Jaco, and was co-credited with him on the posthumous 1986 album Stuttgart Aria.

And what an astonishing player he is. Just listen to the intro to Invitation which the band plays at around 160bpm with Lagrène pumping out the sixteenth notes with the greatest of ease. Personally, as a long-time admirer of the great Laurence Cottle (not to mention Laurence’s disciple Janek Gwizdala), that makes my head spin. I would add that anyone who is still suspicious of the Pastorius style, regarding the very concept of “lead bass” as a contradiction, might do well to give this a listen. Producer Charlier has sensibly avoided mixing Lagrène too high, so that his playing doesn’t dominate: he blends in beautifully.

As you’d expect, the tunes on Remembering Jaco are taken from both the Weather Report years and Jaco’s solo career. Material from his eponymous official first solo album includes Continuum, Kuru/Speak Like a Child and (Used to be a) Cha-Cha. There’s also a version of Jaco’s composition Teen Town from Weather Report’s Heavy Weather, with its memorable bass intro, while Invitation, Liberty City and Fannie Mae all appeared on his Invitation live album from 1983.

Remembering Jaco is an enjoyably varied set. The band is super-tight, and they swing like a barn door in a gale. Not everything is taken at the sort of uptempo clip we usually associate with Jaco: Three Views of a Secret is a serene waltz, and there are some fine solos here from Stéphane Chausse on clarinet, Pierre Perchaud on guitar and Claude Egéa on flugelhorn. Elsewhere I particularly enjoyed the solo work of altoist Lucas Saint-Cricq and pianist Sourisse on Barbary Coast. The album culminates with Buster Brown’s blues Fannie Mae, sung here with gravelly panache by Yannick Boudruche.

Multiquarium Big Band feat. Biréli Lagrène: “Remerbering Jaco” is a tribute to Jaco Pastorius’s music, made by André Charlier (drums) and Benoit Sourisse (piano) from the Multiquarium Big Band, one of the best French Big Bands.

Jaco Pastorius is a big star in the Jazz-Rock scene (and beyond), an icon for bass players all around the world, the one who brought to electric bass the possibility of becoming in some cases, a soloist instrument in a band. Jaco Pastorius made very famous solo albums and wrote amazing big band music. He played with Pat Metheny, Joni Mitchell but was also a very important member of the famous Jazz-rock band, Weather Report with Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Peter Erskine (who contributes some spoken word to this album!)

The virtuoso gypsy guitar player, Biréli Lagrène, has been invited to play electric fretless bass on the album. Biréli, who, as a young genius of the guitar, began to play in Montreux when he was 14, he is now 50 and played one year and a half with Jaco Pastorius on stage when he was 19 years old. Biréli is an amazing bass player, he perfectly integrated how Jaco’s Music was working and pushed it beyond its borders.


    Alto Saxophone, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet – Stéphane Chausse
    Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Lucas Saint-Cricq    
    Baritone Saxophone – Frédéric Couderc
    Bass Trombone, Tuba – Didier Havet
    Drums, Mixed By, Mastered By – André Charlier
    Fretless Bass, Guest – Biréli Lagrène (tracks: all tracks)    
    Guest, Narrator [Spoken Text] – Peter Erskine (tracks: 1, 4, 8, 12)
    Guitar – Pierre Perchaud
    Percussion – Nicolas Charlier
    Piano, Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes], Electric Organ [Hammond Organ] – Benoît Sourisse
    Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Stéphane Guillaume
    Tenor Saxophone – Frédéric Borey
    Trombone – Damien Verherve, Denis Leloup, Philippe Georges
    Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Claude Egéa, Erick Poirier, Pierre Drevet, Yves Le Carboulec

Track listing:

01 Introduction by Peter Erskine     1:19
02 Used to Be a Cha Cha     4:49
03 Barbary Coast     6:19
04 Interlude by Peter Erskine #1     1:08
05 Liberty City (intro) / Invitation     9:46
06 Continuum     2:01
07 Kuru / Speak Like a Child     6:42
08 Interlude by Peter Erskine #2     1:30
09 Teen Town     3:32
10 Three Views of a Secret     6:15
11 Palladium     8:15
12 Conclusion by Peter Erskine     2:10
13 Fanny Mae     3:46



  2. Thank you very much my friend

  3. Always a pleasure to hear a new take on Jaco's compositions. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I look forward to auditioning it!

  4. Your Introduction is great!
    Thank You.

  5. MUCHAS MUCHAS GRACIAS, Por este regalo que es disfrutar de la musica de Jaco realizada por musicos de primer nivel, y con un Bireli que siempre es increible oirle tanto como guitarrista como gran bajista y discipulo de Jaco.
    M;il gracias