FAME Review: BFG - Now or Never
BFG - Now or Never

Now or Never


Naïve Records - NJ623711

Available from the Naïve Records online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Huh? BFG??? Well, BFD, you say?? Okay, I get yer irritation. That sobriquet, after all, has been taken by a goth band (England), a DJ (America), a hiphop ensemble (Iceland), and a skinhead group (no clue), but, since there seems to be a deficit of hyper-attentiveness in artists nowdays, as ten giga-batrillion music units rise and fall so swiftly that even a computer can't keep up, I think I'm safe in saying if any band has any chance of obviating all its nomenclatured antecedents in terms of sheer superiority, it's these gents. The trio of Emmanuel Bex, Glenn Ferris, and Simon Goubert (BFG) released the debut of what they call their 'naïve jazz' in 2001. That disc, Here & Now, went over huge, receiving a number of stellar European awards, a case of aiming to fly across the channel to Birmingham but ending up on the moon.

I've no idea how many CDs the guyz have issued—everything about them on google is in French, and I read and speak French about as well as I lion-tame and craft wormholes—but it's now 12 years since the ensemble's formation, and BFG decided to go back to their point of origin, the Paris Sunset club, to cut a live slab, this one, Now or Never. For a trio (trombone, drums, B-3), the sound is full and rich, as though a quintet, and dripping with its own hybrid authenticities, so don't ask me why the 'naïve' appellation, I haven't a clue, especially after the long deconstructive version of the initial track, Desmond's Take Five. On the other hand, its follower, Fa Diese, immediately infuses a proggy keyboard intro Keith Emerson would've been quite happy with in the old Nice / ELP days.

Hmmm, uh-oh, the further in I dive, the more that 'naïve' tag makes sense. Definitely jazz, but with a cornucopia of cinematic, rock, variegated regionalist, free flow, and other infusions, BFG occupies a Necks / Medeski, Martin & Wood zone where ceaseless filet morphology is the blue plate special, not microwaved macaroni & cheese. Of course, the term's still misleading, as these cats are hardly naïfs but instead crafty juxtaposeers operating under a veil of innocence while grinning like monkeys. Once you understand that, the humor element, especially in Something on my Mind, is more than apparent, but, during over an hour's worth of fascinating perambulations and jaunty exursions, there is no terra firma, and that's precisely what has nailed listener attentions over the last decade-plus: ya never know what's coming next…while drooling in anticipation.

Track List:

  • Take Five (Paul Desmond)
  • Fa Dièse (Emmanuel Bex)
  • Le Sourire de Babik (Simon Goubert)
  • Bluehawk (Thelonius Monk)
  • Light'n Up (If you Can) (Glenn Ferris)
  • Something on my Mind (Glenn Ferris)
  • Seul sans Toi (Emmanuel Bex)
  • Mr. Sanders (Simon Goubert)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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