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MoTIV | ALT-NATION | January 11, 2017

Club d’Elf – Live at Club Helsinki CD Release featuring John Medeski

Boston Based Club d’Elf come to town celebrate the release of their new double album, Live at Club Helsinki. I suspect this is a live record in name only unless Club d’Elf have the quietest fans in history, which isn’t likely because there is plenty to cheer about here. They describe themselves as one of those ”Moroccan-dosed, dub-jazz collectives” that have just been sprouting like lotus trees everywhere. Club d’Elf got their start when the late Mark Sandman of Morphine encouraged bassist Mike Rivard to form a band that worked in elements of jazz, hip-hop, electronic, avante garde, prog-rock and dub. Club d’Elf’s lineup is a bit of a revolving door, but it’s extra stacked for their Columbus Theatre appearance, which will feature Rivard, Brahim Fribgane, Duke Levine, Mister Rourke, Dean Johnston, and John Medeski of Martin, Wood, and Medeski fame.

The thing I dug about Live at Club Helsinki is it’s like diving into a musical ocean filled with indigenous creatures.  The opener, “Mogador,” is so sprawling through the course of nearly 14 minutes that it has both slow and fast tempo jazz with spacey pro-rock interludes, and that isn’t even half the story. “Africa has more of a rock meets hip-hop performed by a jazz band feel. The Middle Eastern flavor of Hegaz mutates into a synth-propelled power jam. Disc 2 has some jams too, like “Salvia” and my favorite “Green Screen,” which is a brilliantly weird mix of house, funk and jazz. I don’t have the patience to be much of a jazz person but I enjoyed Club d’Elf Live at Club Helsinki.

Club d’Elf celebrates the release of Live at Club Helsinki with a live show at Columbus Theatre on January 13.  Don’t miss Sara Azriel’s opening set.

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