Get this crazy baby off my head!


Didier Malherbe (Gong Related)

Didier Malherbe - Bloom - 1979 - Sonopresse

As you would expect from any release with Didier's name on it there are some simply fabulous tunes here. The first time I heard the LP years ago it took me about 10 attempts to just get past the first 2 minutes of the album I enjoyed them so much. And I spent the next couple of Gong tours urging Didier to teach it to the band. Although everyone liked the idea it never quite happened. Throughout this CD is the wonderful combination of melodic invention, musical power and lightness of touch that is pure Bloomdido. No fan of the man's solo work, or his work within Gong could be anything but delighted by this release. - From [ www.planetgong.co.uk/bazaar/cd/bloom.shtml ]

While in Gong, Didier Malherbe's moniker was Bloomdido Bad DeGrass, usually shortened to Bloom. It was only suitable that his first solo album would use his nickname for a title. Leaving Gong in 1979, the saxophonist re-settled in France, where he recruited the musicians accompanying him here, all unknown youngsters. A couple of songs are subpar, but in general this album is an exciting dose of jazz-rock, bridging a gap between the space rock of early Gong, the jazzier edge of the group's mid-'70s albums, and fusion jazz outfits like Return to Forever and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. "Bateau-Vole" is inhabited by the same fire found in John McLaughlin's group, drummer Jano Padovani delivering one hell of a Billy Cobham impression. "Indecision" begins with a rambling recitation on its title. It walks around aimlessly for a few minutes before launching into an Angel's Egg-inspired riff. This is the only moment where Malherbe explicitly refers to his early Gong days. Side two of the LP presents two much stronger and serious compositions. Guitarist Yan Emeric Vagh's "Dan-Dan" (the only track not penned by the leader) is an excellent McLaughlin-esque fusion piece, typically late-'70s and beautifully performed, showcasing his acoustic guitar playing. "Suite À Tout de Suite" opens with Malherbe's angelic flute and develops into a full-fledged romp, bringing the album to a nice halt. Bloom stands among the man's best solo works and aged better than his '80s material. © François Couture, All Music Guide, http://www.answers.com/topic/bloom-rock-album-2

In Paris in May 1968, Parisian , Didier Malherbe met Australian poet, guitarist, and singer,, Daevid Allen, a one time member of the great Canterbury Rock band, Soft Machine. With Daevid, Didier created Gong, the legendary Canterbury Rock band. Gong began their brilliant musical life in Deya, Mallorca. They toured France and Europe before they firmly established themselves as one of the greatest ever progressive rock bands, when they played at the first Glastonbury rock festival in June 1971. Gong joined Virgin Records in 1973, and their "Camembert Electrique" album was successful, even making the charts. Further albums like "Flying Teapot", and "Angel's Egg", brought them even more success. Daevid Allen split from Gong in 1975, and Didier Malherbe played with other Gong formations which included Pierre Moerlen, Steve Hillage, and Mike Howlett. Gong's "Shamal" , and "Gazeuse" are two great albums of progressive Canterbury/jazz rock. Gong has spawned many diferent bands, most of which retain "Gong" as part of the band name. We have Pierre Moerlen's Gong, Mother Gong, Planet Gong , New York Gong, Acid Mothers Gong, and more. Gong, it's offshoot bands, and individual members between them, have released a huge amount of albums. Someone described Gong's music as "European space-jazz-rock crossover" music, and that is a pretty apt description. Didier Malherbe carries on this tradition with "Bloom", and the album is worthy of Gong's high standards. Fundamentally, all these offshoot bands have played the same type of progressive jazz rock that the original Gong played during the seventies. Check out Pip Pyle's "7 Year Itch" album which features Didier. Gong's great "Magick Brother" album is another classic recording, and Didier's own "Fluvius" album demonstrates the range of this great musician's talents. Gong's "Expresso 2" album is @ GNG/XPO2 and Pierre Moerlen's Gong's Leave It Open" album is @ PMGNG/LIO Check out Daevid Allen's "Australia Aquaria" album @ DAEVAL/AUAQ There is a great interview with Didier Malherbe @ DIDMAL/IVIEW


A1 Bateau-Vole - D. Malherbe
A2 Whiskers - D. Malherbe
A3 Give A Chance To To-Morrow - D. Malherbe [ N.B: On the 2001 Voiceprint CD cover, this track is titled "Indecision". ]
B1 Dan-Dan - Yan Vagh
B2 Suite A Tout De Suite - D. Malherbe


Saxophone [Soprano, Alto, Tenor], Flute, Voice - Didier Malherbe
Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Voice - Yan Emeric
Bass, Voice - Winston Berkeley (tracks: A1, A3 to B2),
Bass, Voice - Peter Kimberley (track: A2)
Piano, Synthesizer [Mini Moog], Clavinet, Keyboards [Epinette]
Melodica, Voice - Mico Nissim
Drums, Voice - Jano Padovani

BIO [ From http://calyx.perso.neuf.fr/mus/malherbe_didier.html ]

Born : January 22nd, 1943 - Paris (France). Past Bands : Gong (1969-76, 1992-), Bloom (1977-81), Clearlight (1978), Faton Bloom (1983-86), Pip Pyle's Equip'Out (1984-85), GongMaison (1988-91), Short Wave (1991-), SoupSongs (1999-2001), Pierre Bensusan/Didier Malherbe Current Bands : Hadouk Trio, Didier Malherbe Trio/Quartet, Gong [part-time] . Not only does Frenchman Didier Malherbe deserve legendary status as keeper of the Gong spirit through the band's many incarnations up to the Pierre Moerlen's Gong era, he is also, along with Elton Dean and Jimmy Hastings, considered the ultimate woodwind player on the Canterbury scene, thanks to his continued involvement in bands such as Pip Pyle's Equip'Out or Short Wave (not to mention the reformed Gong), and his guest live appearances with Hatfield and the North (which he almost joined in late 1972), National Health, Kevin Ayers, Mashu, and many others. Didier Antonin Malherbe was born in Paris in 1943. Discovering jazz as a teenager, he soon received classical training on the saxophone from a conservatory pupil. For two years, he also learned classical theory, until on one fateful day, aged 15, he followed a beret (!) into a basement at St. Germain-des-Prés and began an initiation into jamming with jazz musicians. Numerous jams at prestigious jazz venues such as 'Le Caveau de la Montagne' and 'Le Chat Qui Pêche' followed in the late 50's. Meanwhile, Malherbe was attending Sorbonne university where he took an interest in philosophy and foreign languages. In 1962, after hearing the first Ravi Shankar album, Malherbe travelled to India, where he discovered bamboo flute and spend three months trying to play one (and breaking many). Returning to France, he started taking classical flute lessons, on the grounds that transverse flutes, being made out of metal, couldn't be broken. For the next couple of years, he played nothing but classical flute. At that time, Malherbe also formed a band with Pierre Lattès (later Gong's producer) on drums. In 1963, Malherbe travelled around Morocco, staying at a community in Tanger, playing with other hippie musicians such as guitarist Davey Graham, and absorbing elements of Arabic music. Back in France again, he began playing extensively on the free jazz circuit, while still attending university, learning sanskrit and other languages. While busy fronting his own band 'Les Roule-Sticks', he gigged with the Living Theatre, and performed (in a duo with Stéphane Vilar) the music for a stage show, 'Les Idoles', allegedly the first-ever 'rock opera', featuring Pierre Clémenti and Bulle Ogier. Malherbe's first contact with the Canterbury scene was his making the acquaintance with Kevin Ayers while on holiday in Formentera, in 1967. The following year, while staying at Robert Graves' house in Deya, where he spent one year practising flute, he made friends with Daevid Allen. Returning to Paris, a busy schedule as a session man (with Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha among others) and club player (notably with expatriate American jazz pianist Burton Green, on whose album "Aquariana" Malherbe played) followed, while Malherbe also led the folk band Morning Calm with violonist Gerry Fields. In the summer of 1969, Malherbe joined what was to become Gong, rehearsing and recording the material for "Magick Brother". Subsequently, he was the only musician to stay in the band through its many personnel changes, leaving only after the "Gazeuse!" sessions, in late 1976. During Gong's many tours, he became acquainted, and later worked, with such musicians as Kevin Ayers, Cyrille Verdeaux and the members of Soft Machine and Hatfield and the North. After Daevid Allen's departure from the band, he became Gong's joint leader with Pierre Moerlen. His contribution to Shamal (1976), "Bambooji", reflected his many ethnic influences, a direction he was to follow more deeply later on. After leaving Gong, he remained in contact with Pierre Moerlen, guesting at several gigs in 1977 and on the "Downwind" album in 1978. He was also, of course, on stage with his former colleagues at the big Gong party at the Hippodrome de Pantin in Paris in May 1977. During that 12-hour event, he also performed with an improvised band with Patrice Lemoine and percussionist Sam Gopal. He was not to follow this direction very long, however, as he then formed Bloom, a band also comprising Yan Emeric (guitar), Peter Kimberley (vocals, ex-Bachdenkel), Winston Berkeley (bass) and Jean Padovani (drums). Bloom played its debut concert in November 1977 at the Fête du Parti Socialiste in Paris, sharing the stage with National Health and Daevid Allen among others. Bloom recorded an eponymous album in 1978, and toured France several times (April to June 1978 and September to November 1979). During that period, Malherbe worked with Cyrille Verdeaux on the Clearlight album "Visions", alongside violonist Didier Lockwood. There were plans for a live band to be formed at the time of the album's release, but the one gig played by this prestigious line-up (in April 1978) was surprisingly met with indifference from the critics and labels. In May 1979, Malherbe jammed with National Health during the band's series of Paris concerts. During that period, he also worked with Gilli Smyth on several Mother Gong projects and tours. After Bloom's breakup in 1982, Malherbe toured with blind synth player Jean-Philippe Rykiel (formerly of Tim Blake's Crystal Machine, Steve Hillage's band and Christian Boulé's band) as a duo. The following year, he started a fruitful collaboration with guitarist Pierre Bensusan, playing on two of his albums - "Solilai" (1982) and "Spices" (1988) - and touring the US as a duo. Fifteen years later, they still play the occasional gig or tour together. In 1984-85, he was also a member of his former Gong colleague Pip Pyle's jazz band L'Equip'Out, playing on its debut album. More lasting, though, was his association with former Magma and Zao pianist Faton Cahen. It started in 1982 as a trio with François Causse (a percussionist who had worked with Gong, but after Malherbe's departure), then evolved into a band with Malherbe, Cahen, Rémy Sarrazin (bass) and Pierre Moerlen (drums). Unfortunately for fans of the latter, by the time the band - now named Faton Bloom - recorded their eponymous debut album, Moerlen had been replaced by Eric Béloucha, while a percussionist, Roger Raspail, was added. The music of Faton Bloom is rooted in jazz, in a colourful, joyous and sometimes exotic way. Many gigs and performances at various jazz festivals followed until Malherbe and Faton went their separate ways in 1988. In the meantine, Malherbe had started playing in singer Jacques Higelin's backing band, which at the time (mid-80's) also featured many former Magma and Weidorje members. Later in the decade, he toured with Yowel Wicenmecker under the collective name Ichtyornis, and guested on albums by Higelin, eccentric French singer Brigitte Fontaine and multi-instrumentalist Patrick Forgas. In the summer of 1988, he joined Gong Maison, Daevid Allen's new band, which mixed acoustic songs with modern electronic beats, and eventually evolved into a new Gong line-up which recorded the "Shapeshifter" album in 1992. The nineties have seen Malherbe work on various solo projects : Fetish (1991), Fluvius (1993), Hadouk (1995)... These works see him experiment with elements of Indian and world music and use all manner of wind instruments. In 1991, he was also invited by Hugh Hopper to join a new band venture which eventually became Short Wave and toured France regularly in the following years, recording an album in 1993. More Gong activity also took place, following the 25th Birthday gig in London in October 1994, and the band has been touring the world regularly since 1996 (Malherbe's current status in the group is that of an occasional member, with Theo Travis being the 'permanent' sax/flute player). Malherbe's collaboration with Loy Ehrlich has continued with Hadouk Trio, which saw the addition of percussionist Steve Shehan for the acclaimed "Shamanimal" (1999). The trio has toured extensively, but in July 2000, due to Shehan's other commitments, Malherbe started another trio, with Patrice Meyer (acoustic guitars) and Philippe Foch (percussion), sometimes a quartet with Ehrlich. Both bands have alternated on Malherbe's gigs since. Hadouk Trio has gone on to release Now! (2002), the double-live release, Live A FIP (2004) and Utopies (2007). Malherbe was also a member of Annie Whitehead's SoupSongs group, formed to perform Robert Wyatt's music at various music festivals from 1999 to 2001. (There have been other performances since, but without Malherbe).


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w aoofc

Eric said...

Thanks very much for this treat.
As a longtime Gong fan it's a nice addition and great elpee.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, Eric. I love the album. Didier's percussion is brilliant. Like yourself, I love Gong's music. Thanks for comment, ttu soon, & HNY!

Eric said...

The review you provided lived up to my expectations once I listened to the album.
This one will be in heavy rotation in my home :D
Thanks again

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, Eric. The album is a real "grower". I love it. In fact I love all Gong related releases. I think my most listened to music is Gong, Can, and Steely Dan. I never tire of the inventiveness and originality of these artists. Thanks a million for your great comments. TTU soon

roldo said...

Thanks for this - I can never have and hear enough Gong.

roldo said...

Thanks - I can never have enough Gong!

roldo said...

Thanks for this -I can never have enough Gong

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, roldo. That makes two of us! I love Gong and all the band's offshoots. I have a lot of Gong related stuff, and I'll get around to posting it. Thanks, and keep in touch