Sunday, May 9, 2021

Video - OubaelPhoumet Tribute

Yesterday, lazing about on a Saturday, I created a Youtube channel. I had considered doing so for some time, to post movie clips and tunes for personal sharing. However, my first video is a touch more special than the selection of the day; it's a tribute to the mighty OubaelPhoumet. A mysterious uploader from France (who seems to have disappeared from social media, and hasn't posted anything on Youtube in six years), he is known to the initiated for his tastefully curated videos of jazz (and other styles) paired with clips from art films of the 60's, 70's and beyond. His channel was absolutely crucial to me in my early days of cinephilia/jazz connoisseurship, and upon revisiting it recently, I'm glad to say that his selections and sensibilities are as fresh now as they were then.

My very modest homage features a moody cut from drummer James Zitro that I hope would please the man of the hour. As for the film clip, it shouldn't be too hard to guess where it's from. If you like it, then don't hesitate to seek out the real thing at the link below.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Translation - Embrace of the Souls (2020)

A quick note, not surprisingly about a translation: SMP Records, the imprint of German improvising pianist Hannes Selig, has just issued a bountiful box set dedicated to the longtime saxophone/piano duo of Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp. Special Edition Box, as it is called, gathers an unreleased 2019 studio session by the pair, a concert film of their performance in São Paulo from later in the same year (in multiple formats), and a lengthy essay by Belgian writer/ musician/ sometimes-impresario Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg, titled 'Embrace of the Souls.' Last summer, while the global pandemic raged, I had the pleasure of translating this long text from the French over the course of two weeks. It is easily the most gratifying translation work I've done, and the result is much more than extended liner notes. Jean-Michel's essay captures the essence of one of the most accomplished ongoing collaborations in improvised music/jazz, and does so with a sensitivity and generosity perfectly suited to his subjects. I hope one day to be able to share the entirety of Jean-Michel's piece, here or somewhere else. In the meantime, the SMP box is available in limited quantities.

For French-reading fans of free improvised music, I recommend a visit to Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg's fantastic blog. His love of music, sounds, of pure creative expression, overflows in practically every post.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Translation - Jean-Marie Buchet on 'Hatari!' (1963)

Still from Hatari!, 1962 

Surprise! Quite generously, my friends at the Belgian film site Sabzian have agreed to publish a new translation of mine, a full-length review of Howard Hawks' ensemble adventurer, 'Hatari!' Written one year after the film's American release by Belgian writer/filmmaker Jean-Marie Buchet, it is a neat introduction to a great and under-recognized cinematic mind (Buchet's), as well as a reminder of the large-scale greatness of Hawks' film. For those keeping track, this translation is actually my first published anywhere on the web other than this blog.

If your interest in Jean-Marie Buchet's films is piqued, I highly suggest his first feature 'La fugue de Suzanne' (1974), a droll, absurdist comedy that plays like Luc Moullet crossed with Jean Eustache. It is available on demand from Avila, another wonderful resource for Belgian cinema.

Anyway, enjoy the piece, and by all means, take the opportunity to rewatch 'Hatari!'

** Jean Marie Buchet on 'Hatari!' (1963) **