Their only debut album, Le Vent De L’esprit Souffle Ou il Veut, released in 1978, proves to be a hidden treasure and an unsung gem that in which I consider for me, “The lost album of Sierra Madre.” That of course is a band from France named Nadavati. It was the brain child of composer Jacques Liot that wrote the music back in the mid ‘70s and it was originally written for a musical background to a play in which it was a spiritual journey with an element of eastern mysticism. Unfortunately, it never happened.
Reissued by Soleil Mutant, it’s hard to understand why this band never got any recognition. The lack of sponsors in the music industry can be a huge crushing blow as if someone slap them away and didn’t want any of the group as the music was changing into the Punk and Disco explosion as the Prog genre was under attack as being considered by the so-called rock critics, “Hippie” and “Dinosaur” music.
But this here, as I’ve mentioned earlier, is a treasure that is unsung and hopefully going to get the recognition it deserves. The music itself resembles the essence of Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, and Return to Forever. What Nadavati have unleashed, they could have gotten The Mahavishnu Orchestra a big run for their money if they had kept going.
L’Espirt Souffle Ou il Veut begins with a Jazz-Funk rock rhythm thanks to the blaring horn section of Richard Raux (Tenor Sax), Jean-Francois Canape (Trumpet), and Joseph Traindl (Trombone). The music ascends with a sun-rising adventure before in the midsection between Jacques guitar playing with a chugging groove and Alain’s bass improvisations resembles Jaco Pastorius while Mico Hissim’s keyboards go into a Canterbury vibe.
La Valse Du Fou is a late ‘70s Zappa’s Joe’s Garage-era with a Brazilian vibe to it as drummer Didier Hauck creates the groove for a dancing vibe as Raux’s sax followed by the insane synths and piano wonders from Mico’s playing as Jacques really delves deep into the Zappa momentum. But Liot and Lecointe do a duel between guitars and bass.
On Wu-Nien, the driven tempos are almost as if you are going in a car that the speed is at 150 miles per hour. Both of the players create some improvisations with amazing results. But it’s not just Liot and Lecointe, it’s also Nissim and Hauck bringing incredible ideas as each of them do a dosage of Hatfield and the North into the mix. Then the band bring the relaxation to give them a chance to take a break and head into a relaxing take as if they were doing a Fusion take of Miles Davis Kind of Blue on Retour.
There are two closing tracks that clock in at both 10-minutes. There is Ananda. I really love this track not just because it’s an homage to Herbie Hancock’s Chameleon, but this is where the band really get down into the funky groove and lay it down as Alain does his Jaco, Jannick Top, and Bootsy Collins lines on his Bass as if they let him come in front to bring a lot of ideas and brainstorm through his instrument.
Le Pays De La Lumiere Doree sees Nadavati going into the Zeuhl adventures in the styles of both King Crimson, Zappa, and Magma. The scatting vocalizations done by Lionel Ledissez and Joel Delamour, really gets you into the patterns. As the sax, bass, keyboards, and drums followed by the guitar help out the vocalized harmonic melodies and it ascends in the midsection to reach to the top of the mountain.
But then Mico goes into his Thelonious Monk and Art Tatum touches on the piano before his concerto helps out to give the band more free rein as the last three minutes fade off into the sunset. The bonus track in which they performed at the Stade des Bruyeres in southwestern suburbs of Paris at Catenay-Malabry entitled, Moksa. It is a rare live performance and it is a very good recording to show the band at their best to wow an audience with a powering sound of funk-jazz!
This comes with a booklet about the history of the band done by Canterbury expert Aymeric Leroy in which it’s a 10-page booklet featuring the liner notes in both French and in English. Nadavati were ahead of the ball game and despite the band’s break-up to do various projects, I wish they could have moved on and I always imagine them performing with Miles Davis.
But this here, is a real treat for Jazz-Fusion and Zeuhl fans to delve into. So open up a bottle of Champagne with some Ice, and enjoy the music and wonders of Nadavati.