• Image of Michel Portal - John Surman - Barre Phillips - Stu Martin - Jean-Pierre Drouet "Alors !!!"

Carefully remastered from the master tapes
Heavyweight 180 gr. LP
425 gsm brownboard outer sleeve
Licensed from Futura / Marge

Could the missing link between Eric Dolphy and Albert Ayler be the Michel Portal of 1970? After having worked alongside François Tusques defending a free jazz “made in France”, we find him here, heading up an international quintet of which
each member is on fire: John Surman, Barre Phillips, Stu Martin and Jean-Pierre Drouet. The quintet had full leeway to break out the free-form in long ambient tracks to compose this Alors!!! which leaves listeners with just one word to say:
More!
Do we still need to present Michel Portal?... Clarinetist destined for the classical and contemporary world after his passage in the Paris Conservatory, he decided to try his hand at jazz, with an incendiary flamboyance! After his first experience with
André Hodeir and Pierre Michelot, he would break all the codes with FrançoisTusques (Free Jazz, in 1965) before starting the emblematic Michel Portal Unit. It is the Portal of those years that Alors!!! offers us the chance to listen to again. “There are periods of insolence”, the musician declared and the year 1970 was one all on its own. Heading up an impetuous
international troupe, a quintet consisting of John Surman (saxophones, bass clarinet), Barre Phillips (double-bass), Stu Martin (drums) and Jean-Pierre Drouet (percussion), Portal moves from alto sax to clarinet in the compositions shared with
his partners. From the off, the group sparks an explosion with the sound of “OO Bam Ba Deep” battered by the horns and percussion.
Next up is the fabulous free jazz of “Yes, Oh Yes, You Wonderous Sun Kissed Maiden!” and the fantastic disjointed march of “Ça Boom?” which shakes up the musicians every which way. The quintet imagined that listeners would need to catch their breath, and thoughtfully added: “Billie the Kid” and “Undercurrent”, marvelous moments of ambient mystery.
Audacious from beginning to end, including the sleeve – the bird-man and his quintet brain designed by Avoine, –, the album is a fabulous object, to which the label Futura gave wings at the time. And as it is being reissued today there is just
one word to use: the French translation of the title, So!!!

*

Est-il besoin de présenter Michel Portal ?... clarinettiste sorti du Conservatoire de Paris pour servir le classique et le contemporain avant de s’essayer au jazz avec une flamboyance… incendiaire. Après une expérience avec André Hodeir et Pierre Michelot, il bouleverse tous les codes avec François Tusques (Free Jazz, en 1965) avant de monter l’emblématique Michel Portal Unit. C’est le Portal de ces années-là qu’Alors!!! nous propose de réentendre.

« Il y a des époques d’insolence », déclare le musicien et, à elle seule, l’année 1970 en est une. A la tête d’une Internationale de l’Impétueux – dans le quintette c’est John Surman (saxophones, clarinette basse), Barre Phillips (contrebasse), Stu Martin (batterie) et Jean-Pierre Drouet (percussions) –, Portal passe de saxophone alto en clarinette basse sur des compositions qu’il partage avec ses partenaires.

Dès l’ouverture, la formation met le feu aux poudres au son d’un « OO Bam Ba Deep » malmené par les vents et les percussions. Ce seront ensuite le free jazz fabuleux de « Yes, Oh Yes, You Wonderous Sun Kissed Maiden! » et la marche aussi fantasque que déboîtée de « Ça Boom ? » qui agiteront les musiciens dans tous les sens. Pour permettre à son public de reprendre sa respiration, le quintet a tout prévu : « Billie the Kid » et « Undercurrent », merveilleux moments de mystère climatique.

Audacieux d’un bout à l’autre, jusque sur sa pochette – l’homme-oiseau dessiné par Avoine, et son cerveau-quintet –, ce disque est un objet fabuleux à qui le label Futura a su, en son temps, donner des ailes. Et puisqu’on le réédite aujourd’hui, il ne nous reste qu’un mot à dire : Alors!!!

.33rpm.

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