Perception — Perception and Friends + Mestari (1972-1973)
(Great Winds GW3156, 1972/2012, 2CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-06-28One of the members of the first graduating class of Magma, woodwind player Yochk’o (Jeff) Seffer joined up with three other like-minded players for a three-album free-jazz run in the early 1970s. The quartet, which included Didier Levallet on bass, drummer Jean-My Truong, and Siegfried Kessler covering piano, clavinet and flute, released their eponymous debut LP on the Futura label in 1971 (since reissued on CD by Mellow in 2001). The package at hand reissues Perception’s second and third LPs, Perception and Friends and Mestari, from ’72 and ’73 respectively, with almost an album’s worth of bonus tracks. What’s notable about Perception and Friends is the absence of Kessler on all but one of the five cuts, replaced on the others by Manuel Villaroel on piano. There are also a number of additional players sitting in, track depending (the Friends), including Magma alums Luis Toesca (trumpet) and Teddy Lasry (soprano sax & clarinet), plus Daniel Brulé on trombone, and three of the cuts feature multiple cello players, which all taken give this album a very different feel than its predecessor, or Mestari that followed. Like all free-jazz, things get a little chaotic at times, especially when there are that many cooks in the kitchen, but most of the music here is composed, just offering plenty of windows for improvisation. With Mestari, Perception went back to the core quartet (with Kessler returning on strictly electric piano, and penning one of the album’s finest cuts, opener “Chott Djerid”). In fact the album proper contains only three long tunes, the others written by Seffer and Levallet. Still jazz, still very free, but with a few less musicians in the mix going off in every direction, Mestari overall seems a lot more satisfying. Also of note is the bonus track “Waiting For Moby Dick,” featuring a reformed Perception in August ’79 featuring only Levallet and Seffer. By the end of ’73 Seffer and Truong would join up with bassist Joel Dugrenot, keyboardist Francois Cahen and singer Mauricia Platon for the first edition of Zao, and the rest is history. There’s a lot of excellence to be heard here in these two brilliant slabs of French jazz.
Related artist(s): Perception
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more
Joel Vandroogenbroeck RIP – Word has reached us of the death of Joel Vandroogenbroeck, best known as one of the founders of Brainticket, He also recorded electronic music under a variety of names. He was born August 25th, 1938 in Brussels, Belgium and died December 23, 2019 in Arlesheim, Switzerland, aged 81. » Read more