4F de Télérama
When Cabu talked about his musical tastes, he couldn’t resist his desire to shock: “Not the stuff that sounds like pigs having their throats cut,” he said, referring to free jazz, which he hated, but swing, “which makes you want to dance.” After he first heard Cab Calloway’s orchestra in the mid-1950s, jazz took over his heart to the point that he spent the rest of his life frequenting clubs, festivals and concerts, sketchpad in hand, looking for the hottest swing he could find. Hating Johnny, applauding Trénet, this “crazy for jazz” guy, as people like to call him, showed an unquenchable passion to the point that he became an expert in the genre. He devoted several of his works to jazz, wrote the preface to a book celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Caveau de la Huchette club, illustrated several jazz albums and collections, and also became a radio announcer on TSF Jazz along with Laure Albernhe. Even better, his obsession led him to meet the greatest masters of orchestral swing, jazz vocals, Blues, cool jazz and BeBop, and he drew portraits of them that were filled with contagious energy: a hectic Slim and Slam, Django Reinhardt playing in a caravan, Chet Baker blowing his trumpet before a female audience that can’t wait to hear him sing… So many faces that we would recognize in a crowd of a thousand by their expressions, and which now adorn a gorgeous sonic tapestry that Cabu’s friends, Christian Bonnet, Philippe Baudoin, Jean Buzelin, Pierre Carlu, Claude Carrière, Irakli de Dawrichewy, Daniel Nevers, Alain Tercinet and Fabrice Zammarchi, contributed to. Beyond the personal vision that we each get from Cabu’s drawings, this quasi-mainstream fantasy world of jazz offers itself up to our eyes and ears. It opens with the funeral hymn New Orleans Function and finishes on an intense version, by Sylvia Howard and the Black Label Swingtet, of Duke Ellington’s renowned It Don’t Mean a Thing. A must-have!