Elton Dean / The Wrong Object

The Unbelievable Truth

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Paris is the city that foaming-at-the-mouth neocons love to hate (even though many of them have never even been there), but for jazz enthusiasts, it is the culturally rich, historically important city that attracted everyone from Django Reinhardt to Barney Wilen to American expatriates such as Bud Powell and Steve Lacy. And it's a place that, in the 21st century, continues to attract many jazz-minded visitors from other parts of Europe. On October 18, 2005, England's Elton Dean and Belgium's the Wrong Object got together in Paris for the live appearance at Glaz'Art that is heard on The Unbelievable Truth. Sadly, Dean did not have long to live when this 68-minute CD was recorded; he died at the age of 60 only four months later in February 2006. And if Unbelievable Truth is any indication, Paris' association with the Wrong Object had major possibilities. Although Dean and the Belgian unit had never played together before the Glaz'Art gig, they had discussed the songs that would be performed, and Dean (who is heard on saxello and alto sax) enjoys a strong rapport with Wrong Object members Jean-Paul EstiƩvenart (trumpet), Fred Delplancq (tenor sax), Michel Delville (guitar), Damien Polard (bass) and Laurent Delchambre (drums). Most of the material that is performed was written by either Delville or Dean, whose playing gives no indication of his failing health; the British improviser plays with much conviction on the John Coltrane-ish "Seven for Lee" (his best known song) and the reflective "Baker's Treat" (another Dean piece) as well as Delville's compositions. Dean's encounter with the Wrong Object is best described as mildly avant-garde instead of radically avant-garde; an inside/outside approach prevails, but The Unbelievable Truth is still fairly melody-minded and is relatively accessible by avant-garde standards. Although it is regrettable that Dean and the Wrong Object never had a chance to reunite, The Unbelievable Truth serves as a rewarding document of their only concert together.

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