From Apollinaire to Afrobeat with John Greaves and Roforofo Jazz

The #SessionLive receives the 7 of Roforofo Jaaz, fed with the afrobeat of Fela (they played at the Shrine in Lagos in 2019, therefore dubbed by the Kuti family) and interview with the English composer John Greaves who puts Apollinaire to music.

Our 1st guest is the British artist John Greaves who adores French poets. After dedicating 3 albums to Verlaine, he set Apollinaire to music in Areas.

Art must be based on sincerity of emotion and spontaneity of expression: both are directly related to life, which they strive to magnify aesthetically.. said Apollinaire. This remark, so just, illustrates at the right time the project of this new poetic-musical album produced by Radio France, which entrusted the composer John Greaves with the task of setting to music some fragments of the poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire from the collection Alcools. The composer who sets a poetic text to music is in a delicate position, that of a full-fledged creator who weaves his world backed by the creation of another; visibly, this stimulating posture suits John Greaves who in the past carried out similar work around the words of Paul Verlaine (“Verlaine Gisant” collection Signature Radio France, 2015) a symbiosis between the words of Apollinaire and the musical world of John Greaves which would have enchanted the poet, having the habit of conceiving his poems by attaching melodies from nursery rhymes, a process that his friend Max Jacob called “his little music”. To this poetic and musical celebration, John Greaves invites his longtime accomplices: Jeanne Added, Himiko Paganotti, Olivier Mellano, Vincent Courtois, Sylvain Lemaitre, Bertrand Belin and Laurent Valero.

John Greaves.

Titles played

– Party Feat. Jeanne Added

– Area 2 Feat. Bertrand Belin

– Rhineland Night

– The Lorley Feat. Himiko Paganotti.

► Scrapbook Areas (Signature/OutHere Music 2022).

Roforofo Jazz.

Then we receive the Parisian afrobeat group Roforofo Jazz in the #SessionLive.

Roforofo. Meaning “muddy” in Yoruba. After more than fifteen years cutting into the Afrobeat of the Smith Brothers with his guitar strokes, Martin Smith aka Elvis Martinez has stirred up musical sediment and silt in a swamp of hip-hop radicalism, funk groove, Afro power , of jazz freedom with a pronounced taste for adventurous mixtures. Roforofo Jazz is only muddy because it’s choppy, not because it’s stagnant. Fixed in wax or developed on stage, the seven musicians know only one and unique channel of expression: live, this moment of alchemy between them, this connection through groove.

About the new album Running The Way.

Putting the listener immediately in the tone of his atypical afro jazz rap fury, Love In Time and its sharp rhythm appeal to the power of music, in an ultra-energetic piece that nevertheless flirts with jazz via well-felt keyboard flights. side to side is a rearrangement of a track by Togolese artist Bella Bello and Manu Dibango, yet eyeing Motown and resonating like a hymn to life and the directions to take to counter the negativity of our modern societies.

Then on stand-up in a more US deepfunk style like Breakestra or The Greyboy Allstars, MC Days (aka RacecaR) connects between fast and downtempo flows in an injunction to all of us fight for what we believe in. An epic piece concluded with a nod to the master Hendrix…

Gas punctuates side A with a light but saving rhythmic lull, approaching more of a nu-soul atmosphere and punctuated by an explosive chorus where rap, rock and jazz collide, tending to prove like the Days chant that by being more realistic our differences can only fade…

The title Shawarma has nothing to do with a Greek sandwich, though…! Life unfolds like a menu, in which everything is not always to our liking but which teaches us to accept judicious and juicy mixtures and combinations. The result is a piece with an oriental touch, almost Ethio, a rhythm that fits perfectly with the hip-hop flow and the Roforofo Jazz style.

The Big Hustle is a UFO. Articulated around a 20-bar loop that gives it a communicative energy, punctuated by a bass line reminiscent of Fela Kuti’s Colonial Mentality, this title sounds like a highway for frantic breakbeat dancers; epic !

From Here To Benin brings us back a little to the Afro-inspired origins of the group, while injecting a light dose of well-felt pop. A piece that encourages travel to learn to share, universally.

And finally ForDD mode, cover of the instrumental title of the obscure jazz funk of The Awakening, embellished with the voice of Days telling the meaning of life and its mysteries, our beliefs and certainties, as human beings as well as as artists .

Roforofo Jazz at RFI.

Performed titles

– Love in Time Live RFI + see RFI video

– Fire Eatertaken from the EP fire eater see the clip

– Side To Side Live RFI + see RFI video.

Line Up: Days aka Racecarvoice ; Fabien Sautetbattery ; Gregory Hectorbass; Martin Smithguitar; Benjamin Des Gachonskeyboard ; Laurent Dumontbaritone saxophone / flute; Gael Fajeautrumpet.

Sound: Benoît Letirant and Jeremy Besset.

► Scrapbook Running The Way / Ep fire eater (Office Home Rds/The Pusher 2023).

Roforofo Jazz will be featured in the 16th edition of the Over the Voice Festival, on January 27, 2023, at 360 Music Factory, Paris.

Roforofo Jazz at RFI.