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Forgas Band Phenomena: Acte V

High-protein outing from stalwart sticksman and band.

A veteran of the European jazz rock scene since the mid-70s, drummer Patrick Forgas’ compositional style locates him somewhere in Canterbury-esque climes of National Health or Gilgamesh. But no pale imitation, this. Forgas marshals sinuous chord sequences, snappy horn charts, dextrous themes and a sultry melodic sensibility that’s distinctive and engaging.

The jazzy inflection emanating from fiery sax player Sebastian Trognon is cleverly balanced by Benjamin Violet’s guitar work, which adds an assertive, rocky subtext to the music. Timbral colour and variation comes from vintage-sounding keyboards and Karolina Mlodecka’s agile violin.

While there’s plenty of attention-grabbing, high-calibre soloing, Forgas’ own light-touch drumming eruditely oils the intricate parts, ensuring that all the parts, ensuring that all the components mesh together. Such complex jazz rock/prog confections rarely sound this warm and human.

Alongside the studio album a DVD recorded at 2010’s NEARfest contains no-nonsense in-concert footage. Tracks such as the shimmering, pastoral Soleil 12, make this package something extra-special indeed.