Michel Godard

Soyeusement Live In Noirlac

Die Linernotes zu Soyeusement

Michel Godard is a “dream-walker” between epochs and cultures. He belonged to the innermost core of the “Folklore Imaginaire” with Louis Sclavis and Valentin Clastrier and played for many years with Rabih Abou-Khalil, the Lebanese oud player’s band. He loves the adaptation of Renaissance and Baroque melodies while performing as the tuba player of choice in experimental jazz bands. Godard’s own music reflects all of these worlds and times. He improvises his path through the imaginary and transforms space where visions can come true. Years ago, he found such a space in the medieval Castle del Monte in Apulia, a mysterious building brimming with the past and future. That is where Michel Godard let Renaissance and jazz musically meet as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

Now Michel Godard has found another space, the former Cistercian monastery of Noirlac located in central France, that seems to have fallen out of time. The medieval abbey with its history, architecture, ambience and surroundings possesses exactly that certain as well as uncertain magic that Godard’s music needs: openness in all directions and connections to everywhere. For Godard’s music does not commit itself, it loves being in limbo – prancing, gentle, improvised, muted, dark, somewhere between the Middle Ages and jazz. The instruments that came together in Noirlac symbolize this floating between the worlds. The electric bass comes from rock and jazz-rock fusion. The saxophone is reminiscent of the great emergence of the 19th century woodwind instruments before they changed their character into jazz. The serpent – a snakelike winding bass zink, the theorbe – a polyphonic bass lute, and the baroque violin open sonic doors to the distant, cross-cultural past. And not to be overlooked is Gavino Murgia’s raspy throat singing – a reflection of the millennia-old vocal tradition of Sardinia.

These instruments find many niches and connections in Godard’s timeless space of the imagination. Both the duets of serpent and electric bass, as well as theorbe and electric bass merge together into trans-epochal instruments. Although the soprano sax reaches more jazzy peaks, the theorbe can swing as well, violin and serpent come together, while the throat singing provides drone accompaniment all improvising together. Whether in swinging waltzes or as etudes over complex meters, lyrical melodies enchant the moment with hypnotic power. It is an effortless sleepwalk through time and worlds. Of course, trust plays a role: Godard had already worked with the American, Steve Swallow in Abou-Khalil’s group in 1994. He has been playing in a duo with the Sardinian, Gavino Murgia for a long time. These are bridges that can connect the most opposing styles, cultures and epochs creating music that is incredibly improvised, almost disembodied, and smooth as silk. They are the magical dream bridges of Noirlac, the black lake where all lines intersect. A type of jazz, fallen out of time and space.

Hans-Jürgen Schaal
Translation by Joe Grand


Michel Godard - Soyeusement Live In Noirlac

Side A
Les effets de manche (Steve Swallow) 2:28
Pane caiente (Gavino Murgia) 5:58
Gorropu (Gavino Murgia) 5:53
A Trace Of Grace (Michel Godard) 6:40
Side B
Soyeusement (Michel Godard) 7:30
Arrêt sur image (Michel Godard) 3:08
Gorropu (Michel Godard) 6:27
Beautiful Love (Victor Young) 4:10
Sommelier du son is a project of Birgit Hammer-Sommer and Dirk Sommer, where is all about good music and their adequate recording and playback.
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