Sylvain Kassap ‘Grand Guignol & Vaudeville’ soundtracks

'Grand Guignol & Vaudeville' LP front cover
'Grand Guignol & Vaudeville' LP back cover

French saxophonist/clarinetist and composer Sylvain Kassap (born 1956) played in various free jazz/improv groups during the 1970s and 80s, and started composing contemporary music during the 1990s, writing for French ensembles Laborintus, Ars Nova or Alternance. This LP pairs two of Kassap’s film soundtracks of the 1980s, written for French film maker Jean Marboeuf (born 1942), namely Vaudeville, 1986 and Grand Guignol, 1987, typical popular comedy films of the 1980s. The music consists of very short tracks for 1 to 4 instruments (except Grand Final, for ensemble), and is certainly closer to film music than jazz per se — in fact, some of it would not have been out of place on any of Crammed Discs’ Made To Measure LPs. The music for Grand Guignol (tracks 1-10) is especially palatable with its meditative, poetic miniature melodies and warm-sounding recording. Track #5, a string quartet of sorts, for violin, alto, cello and electric bass, is brilliantly arranged by Kassap and is one of the highlights of side A. Last track, Grand Final, gathers horn players and rhythm section for a brilliant free jazz number with remarkable tuba solo. Vaudeville‘s soundtrack is less exuberant but no less enjoyable. On a side note: exceptional pressing quality.

Grand Guignol, 1987
01 Grand Guignol (1:40)
02 Second Phantasme (:54)
03 Déambulations Marchandes (1:46)
04 Juke Box (1:14)
05 3 Plans pour 4 Cordes (5:04)
06 Troisième Phantasme (1:43)
07 Musique pour Julie – L’Inutile (1:39)
08 Déambulations Cellières (1:30)
09 Le Suicide de Germaine (1:38)
10 Grand Final (4:12)

Sylvain Kassap: saxophone, clarinet and keyboards
Claude Barthélemy: electric bass
Juan José Mosalini: bandoneon
Jacques Mahieux: drums
Michel Godard: tuba and bass trombone
Laurent Castelvi: trumpet, bugle
Dominique Pifarely: violin
Garth Knox: alto violin
Corinne Salembier: cello

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Vaudeville, 1986
11 Vaudeville (2:33)
12 Cimetière (1:46)
13 Escalator Drague (1:25)
14 La Garenne Bezons, Texas (:52)
15 Le Suicide de Gaston (1:21)
16 Groucho’s Lift (:50)
17 La Berceuse des Pieds Nickelés (:47)
18 La Fin de Vaudeville (2:46)

Sylvain Kassap: saxophone, clarinet and keyboards
Claude Barthélemy: electric bass
Michel Benita: double bass
Pablo Cueco: zarb, berimbau

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Total time 33:40
LP released by Milan, A305, France, 1987


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