Category Archives: jazz

[Screw a review] Orchestre National de Jazz around Robert Wyatt

It took only two songs for me to realise I was in this kind of much-hailed, seldom-reached territory: the album you want to listen to again and again without skipping tracks or hitting pause because you’re off to grab refreshments.
I didn’t know much of Robert Wyatt‘s solo stuff. I do now know his genre is marked as “progressive” on the myspace page not because he enjoys a coma-inducing prog-rock guitar solo, but rather for his progressive predisposition. As a plus, he’s the spitting image of Moses, at least as I picture the dude.

ONJ around Robert Wyatt

I’m quite glad to be starting with the end, because I feel I know more about Mr. Wyatt’s music now, listening in silent reverie, awash with these beautiful interpretations by a range of diverse yet like-minded artists. Their respective dots are neatly connected by the subdued, almost silent cohesion of the orchestra – which, might I add, actually orchestrates a permeating light that takes both background and foreground, like playing hide and seek.

– only in French

After the sense of squeaky-cleaning my spirit through the power of music -rejoice!, I had to collect myself and light up a fire of recognition around Wyatt’s original work. The process of listening to cover songs and then originals – it’s like playing a piano and then taking it apart bit by bit, chords and keys left adrift in the air around you (photographical evidence coming soon); actually, when both are good- the copied and the “copiee”- it’s all about the interplay, with one song not eclipsing, but shoving light on, the other. And it works both ways.

Alifib (feat. Rokia Traoré) mp3

Shipbuilding (feat. Yael Naïm) mp3

Check out the Orchestre National de Jazz site for live dates

Listen to the WNYC show presenting highlights of the album

Get the album. Wherever you want to.