Bedmakers

Tribute to an Imaginary Folk Band
Mr Morezon 017

Looking for the perfect Jazz-Impov band consisting of a quartet of French nationals whose repertoire is exclusively Anglo-Saxon folk music? Well look no further than Bedmakers. Despite the seemingly post modern high-concept, down to its name with echoes of folk icons like The Weavers, The Dubliners or The Tarriers, Bedmakers is adding a new strain to Jazz improvisation the way others have appropriate Afro-Cuban rhythms, Yiddish melodies and Middle Eastern instruments.

Al the members have impressive Jazz bone fides as well. Tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Robin Fincker has worked with the likes of Paul Rogers; violinist Mathieu Werchowski with Jérome Noetinger and Heddy Boubaker; bassist Pascal Niggenkemper with Frantz Loriot; and drummer Fabien Duscombs with Hasse Poulsen and Sylvain Kassap. Aside from a couple of foot-tapping reels which are played pretty much straight, the key to Tribute to an Imaginary Folk Band is the subtle way in which the quartet adds progressive musicology to the tunes without upsetting traditional norms. Considering the majority of the lines come from the folk revival of the 1960s-1970s helps as well.

To get an idea of the band’s skill-set consider “Princess Beatrice”, one of the CD’s few traditional Scottish airs, that at first appears to be a hard-rocker complete with honking tenor saxophone and double popping drum beats. Unmasked as a sailor’s hornpipe, the off-center interpretation preserves the familiar melody in Fincker’s clarinet while at the same time dissecting it via Werchowski’s swift spiccato, and steel drum-like and wood block clanks from Duscombs. Equally folkloric and equally reconstructed is “Mac Crimmon's Lament” with the rhythm held firm by Niggenkemper’s double bass thumps, as sweeping fiddle decorations plus narrowed atonal tones from Fincker cross and re-cross one another and the melody so that it’s simultaneously situated in the 16th and 21st centuries.

Expressive throughout with tropes stretching from a capella arabesques and double-tonguing from the saxophonist to triple stopping violin runs and percussion gallops, Bedmakers prove that these simple melodies can be reconstituted without any lose of groove or passion. Without losing an iota of sophistication in their interpretations, the quartet defines itself as a jubilant party band for any century.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Dying Bedmaker Suite 2. The Gardener 3. Mac Crimmon's Lament 4. Princess Beatrice 5. The Road to Lisdoonvarna 6. Smokey River 7. Some Summer Day

Personnel: Robin Fincker (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Mathieu Werchowski (violin); Pascal Niggenkemper (bass) and Fabien Duscombs (drums)