A Boston institution for more than 21 years, Club d’Elf has performed its bold synthesis of Moroccan traditional music and electronic, dubbed-out funk to audiences as far away as Japan and South America. Revolving around bassist/composer Mike Rivard and drummer Dean Johnston, each Club d’Elf performance features a different lineup, drawn from a constellation of some of the most creative improvisors of jazz, DJ, rock, and world music in Boston and New York City.
The band has been featured on PRI’s The World, Voice of America, and Afropop Worldwide. Time Out New Yorkdescribed its music as “the roaring avant-funk of electric-era Miles [and] the legato drift of the Grateful Dead ... heady music that doesn’t neglect the tail.” The Boston Heraldproclaimed, “Crushed between the borders of Morocco, jam-band land and the kingdom of avant-garde jazz lies Club d’Elf … James Brown meets Sun-Ra.”
Over 14 albums, Club d’Elf has visited touchstones as disparate as Studio One, John Cage, and Gnawa. Derived from ancient sources, trance forms the central core of the Club d’Elf aesthetic, unifying the various genres the band has absorbed. Guitars, turntables, Fender Rhodes, laptops, horns, tablas, and all manner of exotic instruments flow in and out of the mix, along with Rivard’s commanding playing of the Moroccan sintir, a camel-skin-covered bass lute.
For this show, the band will feature special guests David Tronzo, Alain Mallet, and Phil Grenadier—all Berklee faculty—along with DJ Mister Rourke.