Fugu - Harmonia maudit - 2000


A new gift for all the fans of jazz and its fusion with rock. Musea has released this work of the French group Fugu (the name made me think initially that they were Japanese). Behind the name of the globe fish in the country of the Rising Sun, there are four musicians of great quality level: Philippe Troïsi in guitar, Thierry Massé in keyboards, Lilian Bencini in the bass and Fred Pasqua at drums.


With "Harmonia Maudit" we stand in front of a work whose closest references would be classic jazz in the keyboards and the fusion a la Jeff Beck's style ("Wired", "There and Back") in the guitar. The developments in album go from the calm atmospheres to the intensity of the jazz and the complexity of instrumental arrangements in the 9 pieces that form the album, that could also resemble Jan Hammer’s style at some moments (although less quick).

The beginning is very calm and "La Walkyrie Quand On.. Ouverture" indicates a symphonic rock that gradually transforms into jazz to present the style of the album and with it the second piece: "Sinistre" that introduces us in the world of fusion. In a dark and calm way the communication is developed between guitar and keyboards on a firm base of drums and bass that maintain the rhythm to perfection. It is worth highlighting that in this band the rhythm section does not have the strong contribution usual in other jazz fusion groups. They just maintain the base so Massé and Troïsi take the leadership in the melodies.

"Hommage au Mage" introduces a bigger intensity in the album that could have a slight approach with that contributed by Jerry Goodman to the Mahavishnu Orchestra. The splashes of technical complexity continues during the album, at some moments with the calmness of a pleasant traditional jazz, to move the group to the fineness of acoustic instruments ("Papyrus"). And so goes the music in "Harmonia Maudit", oscillating between jazz and rock until arriving to the inspiration of "La Walyrie Quand On... Final", an acoustic piece with many touches of symphonic music in the keyboards that closes the album.


This album will be an excellent acquisition for all fans of jazz fusion or classic jazz. A good balance in the instrumentation and sobriety in composition and interpretations, as the musicians understood each other well and do not try to compete in search of new speed limits as in many other groups which just show their technical proficiency.

author - date - rating - label

Enrique Gómez - July 2000 -   - Musea Records