"For those of you who grew up on the Return to Forever / Mahavishnu Orchestra / Weather Report strain of modern jazz, you will love this group. There's no mincing words about the Phenomena tag this band is proud to own terrific music made by a wonderful band that cannot be a trade secret for too much longer. Viva Forgas!" All-Music Guide
"Composer and multi-instrumentalist Patrick Forgas has been making music for the last four decades, and now in the heart of his fifth one, he still has not run out of ideas to put into musical forms...[Forgas’s writing] and arrangements display elements of orchestral-jazz, ambient-rock, and progressive-bop with ethnic accents based in Eastern Europe cultures, the Middle East, and the Latin World. It is as if he pulls various influences out of the air, and transforms these bits and pieces that he grabs into magnificent complexes of multi-textured broths. " Jazz Review
For over 35 years, composer/drummer/bandleader Patrick Forgas has been making progressive jazz/rock music in his native Paris. He has led various incarnations of his Forgas Band Phenomena for nearly 15 years and four previous and excellent albums, all of which have featured shifting personnel, but the group featured on Acte V, the group's fifth album, has been stable for five years and is the same group that performed on their last release. So, happily, the band still consists of Patrick, Sebastien Trognon on saxes and flute, Dimitri Alexaline on trumpet and flugelhorn, Benjamin Violet on guitar, Karolina Mlodecka on violin, Igor Brover on piano and keyboards, Kengo Mochizuki on bass. These musicians enliven his compositions with an energy and verve that gives his compositions the performances they deserve!
Fusing new jazz directions with the electric crackle of rock with inspired solos, the music will appeal to fans of FrankZappa’s instrumental works, Jean-Luc Ponty, Morglbl, Return To Forever and Mats/Morgan Band. The quality of the music and performances is obvious from the first note and we're not the only ones who have noticed, as the group has been invited to play some very high profiles concerts: in 2008 they were invited to Seoul, South Korea to perform and - more relevant to this release - in June 2010, the group were invited to perform at pentultimate edition of NEARFest, performing to a packed audience of over 1,000.
The concert was recorded and filmed and is included here as a 75 minute DVD alongside a completely new studio CD. The CD album features six new songs, ranging in length from 6:30 to 13:30, while the DVD is not only the group's first-ever concert DVD, but it's a wonderful summation of their work almost from the beginning, featuring a composition from their 2nd album, Extra-Lucide, two songs from their 3rd album, Soleil 12, two songs from their 4th, Axis of Madness, and two songs from Acte V!
This special package is sure to be a milestone in progressive jazz/rock, capturing a great band at the top of their game and allowing the public a rare chance to see a group like this captured on a professionally shot DVD!
Above is the official preview trailer for the DVD.
AXIS OF MADNESS (L'AXE DU FOU)
Drummer and composer Patrick Forgas has been releasing jazz-rock gems that showcase his compositional and and arranging skills for over 30 years. Axis of Madness (L'Axe du Fou) is the fourth album by his current band; a 7-piece instrumental ensemble of skillful young musicians, performing on saxes/flute, trumpet/flugelhorn, violin, guitar, keyboards, bass and drums. The group perform music that combines the most attractive aspects of jazz and rock composition with inspired solos. The quality of the music and performances is obvious from the first note and we're pleased that it isn't only us who noticed; press has been unbelievably enthusiastic towards this group's music!
"...tight, urgent, almost suite-like arrangements, vaguely recallilng Frank Zappa and Carla Bley, which nonetheless give each player chances to strut their formidable stuff. There's restraint, ebb and flow at work here." jazzreview.com
"...blurs idiomatic considerations so extensively they render stylistic definitions irrelevant. No one can accuse bandleader and principal composer Patrick Forgas of being tame or conservative in his writing and arrangements.... He's been leading various editions of the Forgas Band since the mid-'90s, and this version has a...frontline ably suited for works whose opening melodies quickly give way to furious exchanges, spirited solos and passages bouncing back and forth between avant-garde jazz and shorter, rock-tinged statements." JazzTimes
"Its combination of singable themes and rock rhythms will appeal to Canterbury devotees specifically - and, indeed, all fans of improvisation within a richly composed context"." All About Jazz
The Forgas Band Phenomena is led by composer and drummer Patrick Forgas, who has been hailed as "the French answer to the Canterbury scene" since he first burst upon the scene in 1977 with his "Cocktail" album, which featured members of Magma and Zao. Due to bad luck and bad circumstances, he fell out of the music scene for a great number of years, re-emerging with the very wonderful Forgas Band Phenomena about a decade ago. For their third album, and their first for Cuneiform, Patrick leads an 8 piece instrumental ensemble (dual saxes, trumpet, violin, guitar, keyboards, bass and drums) through epic-length, complex and melodic compositions that mix ambitious progressive structures and inspired soloing. In addition to the many Canterbury comparisons, I also hear a lot in common with the band that Frank Zappa led with George Duke & Jean-Luc Ponty; great tunes and arrangements in a fusion style with excellent 'jazz' soloing. Interestingly, two of the pieces are greatly re-arranged versions of the two works that Patrick had originally planned for the never-recorded follow up to Cocktail!
"Flexing my authority, I strong armed a copy of Soleil 12 out of the Cuneiform head honcho. It is absolutely drop dead amazing. Canterbury fans will shit themselves when they hear this disc. I can't stop playing it. Amazing, Amazing, Amazing." Ken Golden/The Laser's Edge
"...thoroughly composed jazz-rock brimming with purpose at every twist and turn. The large number of instruments allowed for a great variety of expression, as they tended not to play all at once. Think Arti E Mestieri arranged for a jazz orchestra and you get a rough idea (of what this is about). I can't say enough about how good these guys are." Sean McFee/Expose