Marius Cultier: The Way It Should Be
From My Way (Magidisco, 1976)
Grupo Los Yoyi: Banana
Paco La Calle
From S/T (Egrem, 1977)
This is easily one of the most extraordinary albums I’ve come across in a long, long time. Cultier represents one of those ultimate examples of transnational musical mastery – a pianist born in Martinique but recorded in both Canada and France and sounds like he’s from everywhere and nowhere at once. Even though My Way is ostensibly a “jazz” album, it switches styles up with remarkable diversity, ranging from the straight balladry of “Nathalie” (sung in FrenchKreyol), to the unmistakably Cuban sabor of “Ochung” (sung in Spanish), to all that crazy ass moog elsewhere on the album, whether you’re talking about the overly seductive, bossa-like smoothness of “The Way It Should Be,” to the frenzied percussive thunder of “Zouk.” Seriously, what is the moog even doing on here? (and I don’t pose that question in any negative way): it’s just completely bonkers.
(I normally wouldn’t share this many songs off a single album but there’s just no way to capture the insane diversity of what Cultier does here with just a couple of examples.)
This album is so weird in fact, it managed to bump off my previously “most weirdly incredible Afro-Caribbean album, the self-titled LP by Cuba’s Grupo Los Yoyi. The latter has the funk tip on lock, especially with a beautifully groovy disco touch. I posted another song off this same LP a few months back but “Banana” and “Paco La Calle” are probably my two favorite cuts off that album (another Latin funk Grail, btw). The Yoyi LP is the better weapon in a dance-off but it’s hard to imagine too many other albums offering a greater set of musical styles than Cultier’s.
(As always, gotta thank Cool Chris. He was the first one to play me the Los Yoyi LP, about four years ago, now that I think about it and I picked up My Way from the Groove Merchant on my recent trip up to the Bay)
i’ve heard cultier on a few comps and have always loved that “zouk” cut, which i think i had on a brit comp at one point (jazz bizniz?) and the funny thing is i was just thinking about trying to find this song…and then i noticed this post! thanks.
the arrangement of “ochung” reminds me of henri guedon’s, but with a psych edge.
This stuff is wickedly cool, and as you mention, extremely tripped out. Wow. On the Cultier album the moog sweeps in at the end of some of the vocal lines and acts as a continuation of the voice. Wild! Thanks for posting!
OW – you grabbed the copy i traded into Chris… it’s a cool little lp.. a little too fusiony for me overall. He has some other lp’s worth checkiing out. onward, upward and sideways
Ha, funny that I should end up with your copy. I didn’t find it that fusion-y for my taste – I think the weird moogy-ness of it helped prevent it from sounding too noodly. Which of his other LPs would you recommend?
his live “place des arts” lp is interesting.. much more in the organ-y soul jazz vein but with a caribbean twist.. i wouldn’t pay real money for it but it’s worth checking. he has that other one with “ouelele” on it which was comped on one of those comet comps of afrofunk and jazz. that’s a tough one to track down i’m getting older and lazier which means comps work just fine for me and hell even cd’s. sacrilege i know, but man lightening the load is fun!! 🙂
Nice to see some interest about the great Marius! If good things keep goin’ on, there should be some reissue of his music in 2011… Pass the word,
I really have to thank you very whole-heartedly, because without this post, I would not have discovered Marius Cultier, or, more importantly, “Nathalie”. Since reading this 3-4 months ago, I’ve been busy working on a song, which morphed into a 4-song EP, which I then made a 7-track concept album out of. It’s ready, and I’ll e-mail it to you to see what you think 🙂
Excellent; I look forward to it.
Description sounds cool but there’s nothing posted to listen to?
Yeah, sound files aren’t permanent here for bandwidth reasons. Usually, most posts only keep songs up for about 1-2 months, tops and this is from 2010.
i am still a studente antilles merci Marius!