Latest Club d’Elf Articles
Release Day Picks this week highlights new albums by The Infamous Stringdusters, Molly Tuttle, Bryce Dessner, GRiZ, Natalie Cressman & Ian Faquini and Club d’Elf.
Boston’s Club d’Elf confirmed the release of an upcoming live album and a series of dates in support of the LP, including a date with Skerik and John Medeski in New Orleans during Jazz Fest.
Episode 13 of ‘The JamBase Podcast’ begins with “The Rundown,” continues with Bruce Hornsby discussing “The Art Of The Setlist” and concludes with Mike Rivard of Club d’Elf talking about his “Musical Mentors.”
Acclaimed Moroccan-dosed dub-jazz ensemble Club d’Elf reveals details of 20th anniversary shows and albums.
Moroccan-drenched dub-jazz ensemble Club d’Elf will soon release a live album and have enlisted special guests for upcoming concerts celebrating the live LP.
Boston/NYC-based collective Club d’Elf has released a new live album today on birnCORE Records.
About Club d’Elf
Club d’Elf’s music has been called “Moroccan-dosed dub-trance-jazz”, and draws upon electronica, Moroccan Gnawa music, dub, free jazz, hip-hop & funk to create a heady, danceable mix. The band convened for the first time in 1998, spearheaded and fronted by bassist/composer Mike Rivard, a busy session player who has recorded & performed with Morphine, Jon Brion, Aimee Mann, G Love & Jonatha Brooke, amongst others. Rivard drew from the players in the myriad of bands he worked with to fill out the ranks of D’Elf, creating an incredibly diverse rotating cast. Formed around a core rhythm section with the addition of different special guests for each show, the idea was to remix Rivard’s groove-based compositions differently for each performance. Guests over the years have included John Medeski & Billy Martin (MMW), DJ Logic, Marc Ribot, Skerik, and Marco Benevento (Benevento / Russo Duo), with jambands.com describing the situation thusly: “Club d’Elf consists of Mike Rivard and any cohorts who decide to embark with him into perilous sonic chimeras.”
The band enjoys exploring mash-ups of the diverse musical universes they travel, where a Squarepusher-styled drum’n’bass groove may give way to a traditional North Indian tabla interlude, in turn dissolving into some Miles “Live Evil” type electric mayhem. Over the past few years (under the tutelage of member Brahim Fribgane, who hails from Casablanca) the band has been absorbing Moroccan trance influences and frequently adding this element to the live mix, showcasing Fribgane’s mesmerizing oud stylings and Rivard’s commanding playing of the Moroccan sintir, a 3 string bass lute used by the Gnawa people, a mystical Sufi brotherhood descended from sub-Saharan slaves brought to Morocco over 500 years ago.
Over the course of it’s 13 year history the band has has held a residency at Cambridge’s Lizard Lounge, and while visits out of the Northeast have been rare, D’Elf has found a large audience in Japan and toured there five times, most recently in December ’10 w/ Medeski as special guest, where the band played to enthusiastic, sold-out rooms. A predominantly Muslim audience embraced the band’s take on Moroccan folk music at the 2007 edition of the Festvial Du Monde de Arabe in Montreal, where they performed songs by beloved Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane and Berber musician Haj Belaid.
Finding it’s true element to be live performance, where the band revels in musical tight-rope walking and improvisational daring-do, D’Elf has released 7 live double-CDs on the Kufala label. In 2006 D’Elf released it’s first studio disc, Now I Understand, which climbed to 7 on the CMJ Jazz chart and garnered rave reviews. On April 5, 2011 the band’s long-awaited studio follow-up will hit the streets. A double-disc set, entitled Electric Moroccoland/So Below, it represents two distinct sides of the groups sound: Moroccan trance and funky electronica/DJ-driven beats, and features over 26 musicians including Medeski, DJ Logic, the late Mark Sandman of Morphine (in some of his last recorded performances), and Hassan Hakmoun singing a Gnawa-ified version of Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love”. The band will tour the Northeast in April to promote the album.
– Best Jazz Act, Boston Music Awards, 2007
– Best Jazz Act, Best of Boston, Boston Magazine, 2004
– Phoenix Editors and Readers Poll, 2001
– Best Jam Band, Phoenix Editors and Readers Poll, 2001
– Best DJ/Electronica Act, FNX Best Music Poll, 2001
– Best Cutting Edge Band, Best of Boston, Boston Magazine, 1998
As Above: Live at the Lizard Lounge (2000, Grapeshot/Live Archive)
Vassar Chapel 02/26/2001 (2004, Kufala Recordings)
Athens, GA 03/28/2002 (2004, Kufala Recordings)
NYC 04/20/2000 (2004, Kufala Recordings)
Live: Tonic, NYC 5/26/2004 (2005, Kufala Recordings)
Gravity All Nonsense Now (2005, Kufala Recordings)
100 Years Of Flight (2005, Kufala Recordings)
Now I Understand (2006, Accurate/Hi-N-Dry)
Perhapsody (2007, Kufala Recordings)
“The roaring avant-funk of electric-era Miles (and) the legato drift of the Grateful Dead…heady music that doesn’t neglect the tail.” -Steve Smith, Time Out New York
“All-stars they are: Club d’Elf have to be one of the most fluent polyglot musical aggregations on the planet: straight-ahead and avant- garde jazz, Indian, African, Moroccan, blues, funk (always funk), pop.” -Jon Garelick, Boston Phoenix….
“Downtown jazz meets trance, Moroccan music, dub, electonica and jamband…the music’s ambitious in its scope but navigated smoothly enough and with enough chops to cause musicians out there to take notes.” -Tad Hendrickson, JazzWeek….
“Club d’Elf’s Mike Rivard can draw from an unbelievable talent pool [and] with the studio, Rivard can put together any band he wants, whether they could all be in the same room at the same time or not. Great performances litter Now I Understand, but John Medeski and Mat Maneri deserve special mention (just check the Mellotron/electric viola feature on “Bass Beat Box”) for their near ubiquity on the album. Now I Understand isn’t an improvement over the live d’Elf shows; it’s a different side of the same organism. Consider it the polished gemstone to the uncut diamonds of the live releases. Excellent.” -Sean Westergaard, All Music Guide….
“I love this friggin CD but I took it out of my car so I would listen to all the other CDs I’m supposed to be checking out for the channel [XM radio]. It’s been a month [since I listened to it]. And then there is it, like a drug, so I pop it in and all over again – I am hooked! What have you done to me !!!!??? This is one of my all time desert island CDs. You can quote me on that too!” – Michelle Sammartino, XM Radio….
“Club d’Elf’s debut studio CD is the sound of a Dali painting…beautiful, surrealistic…eclectic, funny, technically impressive and, well, just awesome.” -Jon Nolan, The Wire, New Hampshire….
“This music takes its time, and only repeated exposure to its delights reveals the depth of its identity. There is an overriding sense of construction behind the entire programme of Now I Understand, [yet] this is music whose democracy is as profound as that of any piece of free improvisation.” -Nic Jones, AllAboutJazz.com….
“Put it on and go for a ride.” – Miles Jordan, The Chico News & Review….
“It took eight years…but Boston improvisational collective Club d’Elf has finally captured this city. Led by bassist Mike Rivard, Club d’Elf’s first studio album, Now I Understand, translates the feel of a cross-city commute into music: layers of sounds from hip-hop to trance and a half-dozen world-music genres create moments of beauty…” -Jed Gottlieb, Boston Herald….
“A suite with many colors and moods, grooves, and melodies changing at a moments notice… Something about the idea of so many minds and hearts involved here makes this one a winner…If techno has come full-circle, enveloping [its] creator even as it points to another world, this party of relative soloists and collaborators keeps me guessing and wanting to guess.” -John Ephland, Relix….
“If you want to hear a band who does it right, may I suggest Club d’Elf, whose Now I Understand (Accurate/Hi-N-Dry) is an album where you do not know what’s coming next, even after three or four listens. [With] incredible down-tempo funk jams, tranquil jazz, African percussion [which will] take you to the motherland, these guys refuse to stay in one place at any given time and it’s a joy to hang on and see where they take you next. Even with all of the diversity of music and musicians, it’s not scatterbrained or disorganized at all….It’s about unity, it’s about community spirit, it’s about one world, one music. Club D’Elf must have discovered some good hash somewhere, because once they hit that high, they thrive on the buzz and allow themselves to weave through it. All on one puff. – John Book, musicforamerica.org….
“Club d’Elf is a fusion workshop, somewhat in the style of later Miles Davis or the Mahavishnu Orchestra, drawing together a range of players in a variety of genres to plumb jazz, dub, electronica, rock, trance, and the music of the Middle and Far East, with a heavy emphasis on Moroccan styles.” -Chad Berndtson, The Quincy (MA) Patriot Ledger
Greensky Bluegrass busted out a Phish cover, dedicated a song to Jeff Austin and welcomed Billy Strings and members of his band as part of their Red Rocks Run 2019 finale on Sunday.
The Revivalists enlisted Bob Saget for a cover of The Who’s “My Generation” as part of their set on Sunday at KAABOO Del Mar.
Ween returned to the stage for the first time in 2019 on Sunday for a full performance of their 1997 studio album ‘The Mollusk’ and more at Riot Fest in Chicago.
‘Not Not Jazz,’ a documentary film about Medeski, Martin & Wood, will premiere at the Woodstock Fim Festival in New York.
The Cars’ frontman Ric Ocasek has died at the age of 75.