Club d'Elf, 'Fire in the Brain’ (Live at Berklee) By Jon Garelick GLOBE CORRESPONDENT NOVEMBER 21, 2013

 In Press

With its rotating cast of characters, bassist Mike Rivard's Club d'Elf can change complexion from recording to recording and night to night. Elsewhere, for instance, oud master Brahim Fribgane has pushed the “Moroccan-trance-dub-jazz” band in a more Arabic-folk direction. For this live show (recorded at Berklee's Café 939 Red Room; see “Scene and Heard”), the band exposes its jazz-rock side. David Tronzo's slide guitar slithers with sitar-like microtonal bends on the title cut, while Randy Roos restores jazz-rock fusion's good name with his pointed solo on “Nematodes.” Pianist Alain Mallet, meanwhile, who is in demand on pop gigs (most notably with Paul Simon), here nails his jazz roots with a slamming Fender Rhodes solo on the group jam “Black Heart Rebels.” In the band's more “exotic” touches, Mallet conjures a harmonium with his melodica, Rivard offers the sinewy lines of his three-string Moroccan sintir, and band DJ Mister Rourke slips in not only the requisite vocal samples but also “plays” flute on a couple of tracks. The band's grooves, varied and deathless (Dean Johnston is the drummer), and the sustained solo work make this a standout in Club d'Elf's discography. -JON GARELICK

ESSENTIAL “Black Heart Rebels”

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