Recorded in the mid-'90s, Mad Nomad(s) reaffirms Henri Texier's presence on the French scene. The playing and compositions are remarkable throughout and display a lot of variety, all the tunes being performed in various groupings but mainly by a septet with a strong and young saxophone front line. Texier's own "Dezarwa" is a tribute to drummer Art Taylor's own brand of hard bop. Drummer Tony Rabeson's "Radio Bo" is given a more relaxed and less-boppish treatment than on pianist Bojan Zulfikarpasic's Koreni. Homage is paid to free jazz with a powerful rendition of Ornette Coleman's "Happy House," a composition which finds a natural home on this work. And guitarist Noël Akchoté's explosive "Blasted Rats" echoes the leader's outcry. In fact, the latter composition is here to remind listeners that Mad Nomad(s) is also a concept album -- Texier's reflection and statement on the issue of displaced people; it must be said that Texier's definition includes jazz musicians. As a consequence, the music has militant overtones. This also explains why the bassist uses elements of free jazz, a genre which, in the '60s in particular, carried substantial political and societal meaning. The program is also comprised of relatively short interludes dedicated to an oppressed community. For instance, "S.O.S. Tibet" features a Tibetan bell struggling to be heard among crashing Chinese gongs and cymbals. Mad Nomad(s), with its memorable and spirited tunes, can be considered one of the most accomplished endeavors by Henri Texier.
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AllMusic Review by Alain Drouot