Les Amants de juliette
doc 063
serge adam,benoit delbecq,philippe foch,amants de juliette,quoi de neuf docteur,doc063


july 2002

The jazz avant-garde continuously throws up surprises. Les Amant de Juliette, a new CD on the Parisian Quoi de Neuf Docteur label is just such a surprise. A line-up of percussion, prepared piano and trumpet is not unheard of in improvisational music, but in the creative hands of trumpeter Serge Adam, pianist Benoit Delbecq and Tabla/percussion maestro Philippe Foch, this particular configuration bears the mark of genius. On “Godjen” Serge Adam and Phillippe Foch go head to head on trumpet and tabla/percussion respectively. There is a palpable playfulness to be felt on this track, a quality that rather makes us view so-called “high art” and these “high artists” as mere down-to-earth citizens. “Disparitions” is full of minimalist, angular contours, and jangling “prepared” pianisms. The composition’s eerie-sounding tablas bestow a sometimes foreboding air on the proceedings. The cloistral remove of “Le Pictogramme” retains this atmospheric vibe, with Adams’ trumpet probing the overall darkness like a searchlight. The use of Indian percussion in this context is intriguing. Unlike Badal Roy, or say, Trilok Gurtu, Phillippe Foch employs the sub-continental percussive textures in a decidedly “Western” manner. One is reminded of Miles Davis Bitches Brew period, on “Mai”, featuring the muted trumpet of Adam, phrase upon cascading phrase of fluent well executed ideas. Of the nine highly original pieces on the disc, “Noprozac” is the most beguiling. Foch sets up a pulse-racing beat while Delbecq patrols the upper registers of his instrument and manipulates the strings of the pianoforte to intriguing effect. Again, Delbecq is in commanding form on clairon trumpet. Serge Adam performs with the Thuillier Brass Trio and the Polysons collectif. In 2001 he created Haute Frequence, a music and interactive video show. Today, his work turns mostly toward interactive performances, mixing improvisation, writing and technology. Benoit Delbecq is one of the foremost representatives of the French jazz scene which took on an important guise in the 1990s at Les Instants Chavires in Montreuil. Founder of several orchestras (Kartet, the Recyclers, Painting and Delbecq 5), he turns in countless, international jazz festival performances. He also plays with Steve Arguelles, Guillaume Orti, Francois Houle, Evan Parker, Tony Coe, Jim Black, Marc Ducret. He is a major fan of Gyorgy Ligeti since his adolscence and is no doubt influenced by traditional central African music. To quote Telerama, the quintessential French arts magazine, “this musician is continuelle creating the jazz of the future.” Philippe Foch began studying tablas and drum studies in the 1980s. He has made many journeys to India where he met the master, Punditt Shankar Ghosh, in Calcutta. During a ten year period he worked with ‘L’Enterprise’ a group of musicians and actors, and composed many music pieces for theatre. He plays with the Akosh Unit and Didier Malherbes. By John Stevenson
A rare trio, these lovers are. Struck by Juliet since 1994 (their first recording), and who don’t tire in regularly addressing us news of their latest conquests, like this new opus taking once again the name of the trio formed by the trumpetist Serge Adam, the pianist Benoît Delbecq and the percussionist Philippe Foch. In nine thought out and playful pieces, the three musicians prolong the universe of Don Cherry encountering world music and a melodic itinerary. Adam on the trumpet, Delbecq on the prepared piano and Foch on tablas and other percussion instruments share the same sense of space, where interplay takes the lead. Raw improvisation without fillers, where the rhythmic canvas gives an impression of impressionistic ballads.
Thierry Lepin

jazzman,les amants de juliette
March 2002

improjazz-les amants de juliette
April 2002

The story doesn’t say how many lovers Juliet has. However, this third CD by the trio shows how much these three « Romeos » (pianist Benoit Delbecq, the trumpet of Serge Adam and the tablas of Philippe Foch) know how to practice the art of seduction without provocation but with irresistible talent and elegance. Crossing through polyrhythmic India and Africa, the prepared (or not) piano mixes with tablas and the trumpet traces sophisticated and delicate light accents. In short, Juliet is a satisfied woman. We are too.
Xavier Matthyssens
Built on repeating intricate motives, the music of the trio Juliet’s lovers develops on a playful thread, a game where each member brings his own share. The orchestration is atypical: on the piano, Benoît Delbecq weaves a trace of clear notes, sustained by the polyrhythms of the tablas and other percussion instruments of Philippe Foch, while on the trumpet, the measured phrasing of Serge Adam draws arabesques. Delicate work, resting on remarkable placement that one can hear on the last CD of this trio (Quoi de neuf docteur/ Night & Day). But it’s still in concert that the formula flowers in full.
Hugues Le Tanneur


March 2002

le monde-les amants de juliette
March 2002

Three CDs since 1994, all three titled Les amants de Juliette, to render the combination of jazz with music from elsewhere (India, black Africa…). The subject, acoustical, avoids the breakup of tradition and showmanship. Serge Adam (trumpet), Benoît Delbecq (prepared piano) and Philippe Foch (tablas and percussion) are rather pointillist improvisers, bothered with detail and maintaining a collective momentum by their choice of notes, rhythms and timbres. Clearly on the same wavelength, the three musicians open a vast imaginary space without leaning toward the contemplative aspect one expects under these circumstances. Organic, sensual and of great intelligence.
Sylvain Siclier
When three guys like trumpet player Serge Adam, pianist Benoît Delbecq and tablas player Philippe Foch offer you a musical encounter of the third kind, you should sharpen your ear. It’s here, towards music from far away that your ear will sharpen. With their sensual Indian spirit, knotty African polyrhythms, our instrumental lovers share their subtly mixed finery with Juliette. The resonance of Benoît Delbecq’s prepared piano gives a steady flow to the rhythms that Philippe Foch shapes and underlines with his tablas. Above these fine sound mechanics, Serge Adam’s trumpet sings like Romeo. In turn attentive or more persuasive, it refines its serenade, operating between jazz and traditional music, shaping music that’s free but constructive with fascination. The pieces, often short (an average of 4/5 minutes), are essentially composed, even if improvisation feeds a run of ideas. Lengths that tend to hold this desire of musical transverse in a « pop » and accessible format. Since 1993, Juliette’s Lovers – which is in fact the name of the project – leads their affaires where their inspiration seems to dig into thousand year old depths. An impression of timelessness, warm and glacial interactions. So many elements that make this ménage à trois absolutely necessary. Laurent Catala

spring 2002
jazzmagazine,les amants de juliette,quoi de neuf docteur
March 2002
CDs are objects. This one, however, is a curiosity. Even so, note this since no one will tell you elsewhere, it all started with a rejection of the object in question. The one I have in my hand is no longer the initial one. One of the members of the trio, after having nightmares about its visual aspect– a photo of a male nipple on a contour woven card …- destroyed all parts of it, outer case, metal disk, because of due rights. The esthetic avant-garde does not exclude ethic reserves or moral labels… The music is left alone, intact under a remodeled plastic-paper case. Juliette’s Lovers represents a story of the race of a light horseman infatuated with music freed from its stall. First comes their light stride, then their capability to switch from trot to gallop when needed in order to free up the track, to speed up the step. If needed, the polyrhythmic strikes reintroduce Africanisms, the chords bring orientalism, the layering of the purposefully masked instruments (does a prepared piano remain a piano?) sometimes leads us to a non-identified product. It’s just a question of which color dominates. And the desire. The perfume that lingers remains an exterior factor. The only reality that cannot be exceeded: the trumpet is the song figure. The pleasure in taking it all in comes in the month of the ballad (May). One can feel that the music of the trio aims to let in fresh air. Light and airy (Adam), acrobatic spirit (Delbecq) and harmoniously muscular (Foch). The panorama here, out of focus, with a zoom lens or even out of the picture, requires the listener to have a keen sense of reception. That goes to show that taboos of the eye and the ear aren’t necessarily two of a kind. This could be the real lesson to learn in the love story of Juliette’s Lovers. Robert Làtxague
They’re always looking toward new horizons to keep up with the times. They stroll through a polyrhythmic world, where Asian scents are always present, not to mention Africa. Boys, who are acquainted with this contemporary improvisation that retraces ancestral musical traditions with a desire to cohere, especially where their intellectual cohesion hits the bull’s eye.
Gérald Mathieu

May 2002