Sunday 11 October 2015

Vapeur Mauve's ZIG ZAG: Pièces Manquantes [ no download! ]

A superb, almost magical chamber music progressive set most similar to the masterpieces of Jacques Thollot, Cinq Hops, or French Mosaic.  This is, obviously, a reissue from 2014 of unreleased material, entirely composed by Jean-Luc Chevalier, as you can easily see if you compare with the tracklist of his first, ST record (which oddly enough came out almost a decade later due to his involvement with Magma).  That later record and others by him recycled many of these very worthy compositions but I think with a considerable diminution in progressiveness as might be expected from the late year.

The discogs info is sparse, so I found better on the web here.

Pièces Manquantes 1976 is a hitherto unreleased studio album recorded by the ill-fated French group Zig Zag.  The music is composed by guitarist Jean-Luc Chevalier, who soon afterwards became a member of Magma (his Zeuhl name being, of course, Gorgo).  This is not yet another copycat, although the Magma influence (and also perhaps McLaughlin) is apparent. But this band did speak with its own voice. 

Jean-Luc Chevalier : Guitar, compositions.
Claude Le Péron : Bass
Nicolas Carver : Saxophones, clarinet.
Nobby Clarke : Saxophones, flute.
Jean "Popoff" Chevalier : Saxophone, clarinet, percussions.
Philippe Grandvoinet : Piano.
Michelle Sarna : Vocals.
Alain "Antoine" Chagnon : Drums, percussions.

The record co. website is in French and describes at length the illustrious career each player subsequently held, as can be expected.  Out of respect for them, obviously there is no download, but please listen to these astonishing tracks, let your jaw drop, and try to secure a copy of this remarkable piece of progressive brilliance.

First the remarkable Ballade with its whole tone augmented chords and their eerie/dreamy sound made particularly hypnotic by the wordless alto female vocalizing:

Hommage to J. H. II is simply pure French progressive jazz-rock bliss, reminding me especially of the great Transit Express (and door prize to the one who first tells me who is that likely J.H.):

Oh dear-- that miraculously beautiful sound!!

For those who know Chevalier, the track Tibet is actually quite familiar, being the title of a later record:

Incidentally the Jean-Luc Chevalier discography is well worth hearing in its entirety.  But what most amazes me is that this collection of early work, never released, is his BEST effort.  For comparison purposes I'll put up his 85 work soon.

And we must thank from the bottom of our hearts the effort Vapeur Mauve made to resuscitate this beautiful masterwork from oblivion for us, for the patrimony (/ matrimony ?) of humanity.


  1. searching for this ,Julian .....Thank´s for Zig Zag ..Hug´s !

    1. here's your record:



  4. From what I can hear, this is amazing! Something about those deep dark French 70s sounds I can't get enough me the ole cosmic shivers of pleasure!
    I went to Vapeur Mauve's site, tried to order the mp3 but haven't had any luck getting a response...bummer...hopefully they reply, cause damn I need this!
    And is that 'J.H.' referring to Johnny Hallyday??

  5. julian i loved the transit express i have two lps by them great got them when they came out in the 70s ill have to dig them out now as i havent heard them in years thanks for reminding me

  6. julian i almost forgot the answer to your question it was david rose the great violinest serge perathoner i have the first two prigtacit and opus progressif never got got the last two a live in tokyo and couleurs naturelles id like to hear them someday

  7. Does anybody here know where one CAN download Vapeur Mauve's ZIG ZAG: Pièces Manquantes? This blog has made me really curious about it and I cannot find it anywhere. Thanks.

  8. Hi

    I'm from the Vapeur Mauve Productions label

    You can ear the full album here :