Doudou Gouirand 2021

Voices For Peace
Doudou Gouirand, Jean Sébastien Simonoviez & Joël Allouche

In 2021, for the very first time, Don Cherry’s 1972 New Researches recording from Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon was released to the world, bringing together Naná Vasconcelos, Christer Bothén, Moki Cherry and Gérard “Doudou” Gouirand. Gérard would have been 32 years of age. The performance, promoted by the French ORTF broadcasting network was part of a nine-day festival that included Art Farmer, Martial Solal, Art Taylor, Marion Williams, Hal Singer, Slide Hampton, Jean-Luc Ponty, Michel Portal, Michel Roques, Clark Terry and Art Blakey’s “Orgy In Rhythm” which came off the back of the 13th Nice Jazz Festival promoted by Jacques Souplet and Jacques Hebey in July of the same year.

Gouirand’s alto and soprano has touched the famous over his vast musical career since then. Albums with Chris McGregor, Johnny Dyani, Mal Waldron, Bobo Stenson, Palle Danielsson and Okay Temiz are just a snapshot from a discography stretching back to 1979 through to the present day with his latest album, ‘Voices For Peace’, where he lays down the horn for the microphone, an avenue first embraced in 2016.

Joining “Doudou” on this Hâtive release are French drummer and percussionist Joël Allouche (whom he previously worked with as part of Orchestra Improvista and also Don Cherry in 1985) and French pianist Jean Sébastien Simonoviez (who previously worked with Gouirand in 1995 alongside Philippe Gareil). The album comprises ten compositions with nods to Broadway and jazz standards in eden ahbez’s ‘Nature Boy’ – made famous by Nat King Cole, Coltrane’s ‘Naima’, ‘Hi-Fly’ – lyrics by Jon Hendricks, ‘Still We Dream (Ugly Beauty)’ – lyrics by Carmen McRae, Abdullah Ibrahim’s ‘Blue Bolero’, Guy Wood’s ‘My One And Only Love’ – made famous by John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman and Jule Styne’s ‘I Fall In Love Too Easily’ which was first sung by Frank Sinatra. The three remaining originals by Gouirand are where this album elevates itself and stretches further the singer and the music. The familiar ‘The Last Poet’, first released as an instrumental in 1986 as part of the Mal Waldron / Doudou Gouirand / Michel Marre album ‘Space’ has been a firm favourite with this writer and a pleasure to hear afresh with lyrics. The remaining ‘Flying-Eagle’, first recorded in 1999 by Gouirand and Allouche, brings an air of unfamiliarity to the album and a delightful chance to listen to a song without comparisons, leaving the title track, ‘Voices For Peace’, reigning supreme. This truly is where the album glows musically and lyrically. A song I have not been able to avoid playing every day for the past two weeks. The trio are wonderful and take the enjoyment level far higher. Joël Allouche, who has worked with Enrico Rava, Palle Danielsson and Paolo Fresu delights, as does Simonoviez’s funky purity on the piano.
  • Speak out for peace
  • Sing out for Peace
  • Give all for Peace
  • Unite for Peace…

With deep musical heritage in France, Georges Arvanitas for instance, and a present-day buoyant scene, one can not overlook the standing in the jazz community the likes of Marc Ducarne, Clélya Abraham, Samy Thiebault (and on and on and on) produce. And therefore the history and music recorded by Doudou Gouirand, Jean Sébastien Simonoviez and Joël Allouche could never be questioned, as they have played a very important role in France’s musical advancement.

This year Doudou Gouirand will celebrate his 82nd birthday. We wish him “le meilleur des anniversaires” and our heartfelt gratitude for allowing us to hear his songs. We are indeed charmed and eagerly await more – Qui vivra verra.

Steve Williams - ukvibe.org