Marc Moulin - Entertainment

Belgian keyboardist Marc Moulin has been a jazz craftsman for more than three decades. A leader in the field of acid jazz, he began his career by playing the piano in the '60s throughout Europe. During the following decade, he established a band known as Placebo. By 1974, he had made a trio of albums, influenced by such masters of jazz as Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. One of those early releases, Sam Suffy, has withstood the test of time and is still popular decades later with aficionados. Before the '70s had passed, Moulin switched gears; working with the band Telex, his style shifted to electro pop. With bandmates Michel Moers on vocals and Dan Lacksman on synthesizer, he put out five albums that spawned hit singles like "Rock Around the Clock," an electro pop version of the song originally made famous by Bill Haley & the Comets, and "Moscow Diskow," which won fans in discos as far away as Australia and Brazil. By 1992, Moulin again pulled a switch, this time turning to a sound that was more ambient with the release of Maessage. As the calendar flipped forward to a new millennium, Moulin flipped back in time to the place where he'd started: jazz. He signed with Blue Note, a label fond of pushing boundaries, which allowed him to freely combine his proclivity for the electronic sound with his jazz roots.

The title is already a giveaway. With his new album “Entertainment”, Marc Moulin steps back into his version of the limelight. Some 100,000 people in 40 countries fell for the electro-jazz of his previous album “Top Secret”. A host of compilations (80 and counting) listed it under Lounge, somewhere between Air and Henri Salvador. The success of “Top Secret” only confirmed what Moulin has been doing since the seventies already: exploring a fusion whose only vocation is to get back to the essence of early jazz. In Moulin’s world, that means dance music – nay, entertainment – rather than the modern, sublime yet pained art form of the be-boppers. And “Entertainment” is Moulin’s most accomplished album, an elegant demonstration of his status as the Godfather of Electro-Jazz.

The album opens with a homage to the legendary Horace Silver. On the track called “Silver (Who Stole the Groove?)”, the voice of Horace can be heard inviting us to, “We'd like to have you all join in with us on this one and help us find the groove”. Moulin takes this invitation, first heard on the album “Doin’ the Thing – Live at the Village Vanguard” (1961), as his own. It highlights another thing he shares with the American pianist, a bulletproof sense of humour. The second track, “Preface”, confirms his passion for writing and calligraphy (and “Calligram” gets a mention on the fourth track). Vowels get their few minutes of fame in “Y.U. (The Vowel’s Tune)” while “Irony” is a direct reference to one of Moulin’s best-known character traits.

Laid across some supple grooves, the sparkling clarity of the tunes runs like a silver thread through an album whose electronic side is implicit rather than in your face. At what point does a groove become a song? The inspired trumpet of Bert Joris (muted or open, which might or might not be a reference to Miles and Chet) graces almost every track. The feline voice of Christa Jérôme raises the tone, while the new kid in town – Flemish percussionist Peter Schneider - provides his palette of swing.

With Moulin on keyboards and directing, the result is a quartet with drive and distinction. The spirit of organist Jimmy Smith is alive and well, as Moulin claims his “soul”. He adds pointillist splashes of organ with rare gusto. “They’re like furry drops,” he says himself, true to the spirit of Belgian surrealism. Huh? This taste for the oddball is already evident on the cover that features his dog Sadie, supposedly the bastard daughter of Nipper (remember His Master’s Voice?). Sadie has a master that will keep us entertained – and dancing - over the coming months. 100%.

01 Silver (Who Stole the Groove?)
02 Preface
03 Y.U.? (The Vowels Tune)
04 Calligram
05 Irony
06 Easy
07 Le Grand Voyage
08 What Was It Again?
09 Where Is It?
10 There Comes a Time

Marc Moulin's Website

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acidjazzy said...

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pw = acidjazzy

Anonymous said...

Thanks for granting my request ( posted in Screen Acid). I bought Moulin's Top Secret album - I hope this one sounds kewl too. Thanks a lot!

Rod said...

getting out.....

Rod said...

Great album.
Excelent for a dance-nujazz night.

The song ''calligram-repack'' is not so good , it should not have been included in this album.

Thanks, and i repeat Excelent!!

Carlos Azevedo said...

Alternative link:

Juan Pablo said...

Could you please reupload it? Thanx

What is Acid Jazz?

Acid jazz (also known as club jazz) is a musical genre that combines elements of soul music, funk, disco, particularly looping beats and modal harmony. It developed over the 1980s and 1990s and could be seen as tacking the sound of jazz-funk onto electronic dance/pop music.

The compositions of groups such as The Brand New Heavies and Incognito often feature chord structures usually associated with Jazz music. The Heavies in particular were known in their early years for beginning their songs as catchy pop and rapidly steering them into jazz territory before "resolving" the composition and thus not losing any pop listeners but successfully "exposing" them to jazz elements in "baby steps".

The acid jazz "movement" is also seen as a "revival" of jazz-funk or jazz fusion or soul jazz by leading DJs such as Norman Jay or Gilles Peterson or Patrick Forge, also known as "rare groove crate diggers".