Club d’Elf is an ever-shifting group of musicians fiercely dedicated to “the groove”, consisting of some of the most sought-after players from the jazz, DJ, rock & world music scenes of Boston & NYC, and over the course of it’s twenty four year existence has been featured on PRI’s The World, Voice Of America, Afropop Worldwide, and Time Out New York. The band’s music draws from a startlingly wide spectrum of styles, including jazz, hip hop, electronica, avant garde, prog-rock and dub. Under the tutelage of member Brahim Fribgane (who hails from Casablanca) the band absorbed Moroccan trance influences and frequently adds this element to the mix. Audiences of all persuasions are drawn to Fribgane’s mesmerizing oud stylings and leader/bassist Mike Rivard’s commanding playing of the Moroccan sintir, a 3 string bass lute used by the Gnawa people of Morocco. Derived from such ancient sources as these, trance forms the central core of the Club d’Elf aesthetic, unifying all of the various genres the band has absorbed.
The band’s new album, You Never Know, is a trance-heavy meditation on finding light amidst the shadows. The band pay tribute to the music and musicians who have been primary influences, with half the album being covers of Gnawa, Miles Davis, Joe Zawinul, Moroccan band Nass el-Ghiwane, and Frank Zappa. The other half consists of original music inspired by leader Mike Rivard’s personal journey into darkness following a near death experience in the remote jungle of the Peruvian Amazon. Joining Rivard and D’Elf regulars Fribgane, Dean Johnston (drums), DJ Mister Rourke (turntables) for the release tour is special guest John Medeski (on an array of vintage analog keyboards), who is featured on the new album.