January 20 // LOUIS MINUS XVI @ Casa Nostra (Rouen)
January 21 // LOUIS MINUS XVI @ Pas d’Ane (Montamy)
January 22 // LOUIS MINUS XVI @ Carré Bleu (Tours)
January 23 // LOUIS MINUS XVI @ Le Temple (St Martin de Lansuscle)
January 24 // LOUIS MINUS XVI @ Pont d’Héraut
January 25 // LOUIS MINUS XVI @ On sera à Lyon et on fera des trucs
January 26 // LOUIS MINUS XVI @ ?? HELP ??
January 27 // LOUIS MINUS XVI @ Le Brin de Zinc (Chambéry)
« It’s unusual for a jazz quartet to feature a double-saxophone front-line; even more rare is the fact that Louis Minus XVI’s Kindergarten isn’t a straight-up, kick-out-the-jams collection of improv-driven blowouts. Instead, the four musicians involved work through complex arrangements that many times overturn convention. Originating from Lille, France, Louis Minus XVI is described as a fusion quartet, fusion in this case referring to a melding of noise rock and free jazz. But while elements of both are present on the group’s sophomore effort (its debut Birds And Bats appeared in 2011) and while one could be forgiven for thinking of Mat Gustafsson or Peter Brötzmann during the noisier episodes, saxophonists Adrien Douliez (alto), Jean-Baptiste Rubin (tenor), electric bassist Maxime Petit, and drummer Frédéric L’homme offer more than five riffs on a singular theme.
The thirty-five-minute recording does initially adhere to the expected script when “La Marche” lurches into position with the saxophonists’ intertwining bluster egged on by the rhythm section’s bulldozing lurch and the track’s opening minutes conforming to the long-standing tradition of free blowing. But at the four-minute mark, a discernible shape begins to assert itself (if briefly), and it becomes clear that the group had been working its way towards that stage the entire time. Even more surprisingly, the subsequent piece, “More Friends,” shifts abruptly from the opener’s high-volume presentation to a delicate, ballad-styled approach, and its peaceful character is pushed even further when the music’s given over to ruminative exchanges between the saxes.
Other left turns follow: in “Sugar OD,” Louis Minus XVI tackles punk-jazz stutter-funk, the group’s honking attack growing ever more obsessive and tightly wound as the piece advances; something akin to klezmer or Arabian music seeps into the recipe for “Columbine’s Twin” when serpentine saxes coil themselves around Petit’s agile riffing and L’homme’s martial tom-toms; the complexity of the composition and the fluidity of role-swapping earmark “Columbine’s Twin” as material that has little in common with free improv. By the time “Bain Atlas” caps the release with ten minutes of methodically structured interactions, any impression of Louis Minus XVI as a one-note noise rock-and-free jazz outfit will have been amended long ago. »