Club d’Elf To Release Long Awaited Studio Debut

Eight years in the making, Club d’Elf’s long awaited studio debut entitled, Now I Understand, will finally be released on Accurate Records.

Club d’Elf is the brainchild of bassist Mike Rivard, one of the most respected musicians on the Boston music scene, having played with a startling variety of artists, including The Either/Orchestra, Natraj (Indo-jazz), Hypnosonics (with members of Morphine), The Story, Aimee Mann and Paula Cole to name but a few. In 1998, Rivard seized the opportunity to play a residency at Cambridge’s ultra-hip Lizard Lounge by creating a rhythm section-oriented band with a floating cast of guitar, keyboard and horn players. Playing his tunes, which draw on influences ranging from Miles Davis and The Meters to electronica and Moroccan music, Rivard created a distinctly personal style from the bottom up, a sound which varies depending on the sidemen, but is always fascinatingly broad and a mile deep.

Club d’Elf’s existence as an ever-changing live band made it logical that its first seven CDs were live albums. However, d’Elf’s first studio recording reflects another side of leader Mike Rivard’s musical personality. Now I Understand takes fearless improvisations recorded “live in the studio” and weaves them into tight, layered compositions, perfectly paced and meticulously detailed. Primarily occupied with creating virtually a new edition of the band for every show (which would amount to dozens of personnel combinations throughout the collective’s history), it would take Rivard years to construct the studio tracks thereby documenting the composer/bandleader/ensemble’s journey through time.

Collaborators include d’Elf live show regulars John Medeski on Hammond organ, Wurlitzer piano, Mellotron and analog synthesizer, Billy Martin on drums, Mat Maneri on viola, Dave Tronzo, Reeves Gabrels, Duke Levine, Gerry Leonard (aka Spooky Ghost) on guitar, Alain Mallet on keyboards and DJ Logic on turntables. The core of the band, its rhythm section, remains consistent: Rivard on bass and a Moroccan three-stringed bass lute called the Sintir, Brahim Fribgane on oud, dumbek and percussion, Mister Rourke on turntables and Erik Kerr on drums.

“In total, the whole process of making this CD spanned almost 8 years. It became a sort of journey for me, encompassing experiences both personal, such as going through a divorce and the deaths of loved ones, and universal, such as Columbine, 9/11 and Katrina,” notes Rivard. “I remember driving while listening to reports of Columbine on the radio. Later that night while recording I felt such a level of sadness and mourning, which I can still hear in the bass tracks from that session. Though we don’t really speak of such things, after 9/11 especially, I think there was a tacit understanding that what we were doing in the band was perhaps part of some larger global effort at cooperation and mutual love and respect with Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Pagans and what have you playing together and putting aside cultural and religious differences in service of ‘The Music.’ To some extent I think that comes across on this record.”

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