Richard Raux & Hamsa - Kundalini (LP)
Monster Melodies present Kundalini, an unreleased live recording of Hamsa. This French band with Richard Raux (ex-Magma) at his best in 1976 play an incredible and unique music, groovy, powerful, between funk and spiritual jazz, drawing on roots in African and Indian rhythms. Raux was born in Périgueux in 1945, but would never forget his Creole origins, his family having come from Madagascar. In his early years, Raux was introduced to ethnic music, Django Reinhardt, Brassens, and most importantly the jazz of Coltrane, Dolphy and, Monk. Richard studied at Paris' Ecole Normale, and frequently played at the Chat Qui Pèche in order to measure himself against other horn players. It was there that he met the bassist Jean François Catoire, who played in two groups with the distinction of having Christian Vander as drummer. When Vander formed Magma in 1969, Richard was staggered by the energy of the new group. He shared Vander's fascination for Coltrane, he was hired to replace departing saxophonist René Garber. After 12 months of intense work, Richard took part in the recording of Magma's first album for Philips, before leaving the band. While Magma had taught him a lot about composition, he was exhausted by having to play note-perfect renditions of un-notated music on stage, with no room for improvisation. The first Hamsa record was released in 1975 on Fiesta, a small Belgian label that specialized in African music. Raux composed all of the tracks and was accompanied by Patrice Raux and John Faure on guitar, Jano Padovaniand Jean Louis Besson on drums, Albi Cullaz on bass, and Alain Pistre on percussion. Following that, Hamsa was snapped up by singer Jacques Higelin as his backing group, but the relationship ended in conflict when Higelin prohibited the musicians from playing any solos at all. Richard had discovered free jazz through Frank Wright, and collaborated with the Celestial Communication Orchestra directed by Alan Silva, but left mid-concert, exasperated by being forced to "play the same segment twenty times before playing the music backwards". Into the '70s and '80s Richard toured as a soloist, and collaborated with Charlie Haden, Jacques Thollot, Mal Waldron, among others. He also formed The Richard Raux Quartet, who recorded the album Under The Magnolias(1995) was formed with the desire to return to more orthodox jazz, showing the diversity of his approach.