March 20, 2011 Global a Go Go Club d’Elf | Electric Moroccoland/So Below By Bill Lupoletti
Club d'Elf is the brainchild of Boston-based bass guitarist Mike Rivard. It's an improvisation-driven project (a jam band, if you will) whose floating membership includes some of Boston's finest jazz and rock musicians: organist John Medeski, violinist Mat Maneri, guitarists David Tronzo and David â€œFuzeâ€ Fiuczynski. Rivard's old friend Mark Sandman (Morphine) turned him on to Moroccan gnawa trance music years ago, and Rivard has been steering Club d'Elf more in that direction in recent years – this is his first album of nothing but Moroccan-based material, and he's drafted some expert players for the effort, including Hassan Hakmoun and Brahim Fribgane. For my personal taste, there's too much prog-rock noodling on some of these tracks, but the band really clicks into overdrive on two unlikely covers, Cream's â€œSunshine Of Your Loveâ€ (track 5) with Arabic vocals by Hakmoun and Morphine's â€œRope On Fireâ€ (13). These two tracks are well worth the price of admission and are as compelling as anything I've year so far this year. More of this please, gentlemen.