Johnny La Marama - Bicycle Revolution

Artist: Johnny La Marama

Songs: Bicycle Revolution, Great Vision of a People on Two Wheels, Tricycle Evolution Stampede

Album: Bicycle Revolution (2008)


Jazz, instrumental


Johnny La Marama is an extraordinary jazz guitar trio from Berlin. Here you will hear both avantgarde and rock influences melting into an African ethnic sound. Free improvisation has a lot of room in the music, yet the rhythm remains steady. A loose ostinato is often the backbone of the music.



The appearance of a new album by Johnny La Marama is always a rare event. The word “rare” has several meanings: 1. occurring or found infrequently; markedly uncommon: a rare disease; the rare gas station on that stretch of the road. 2. having the component parts loosely compacted; thin; rare gases. 3. unusually great: a rare display of courage. 4. admirable, exemplary; She showed rare tact in inviting them. All of these definitions might apply, as the case may be, to this remarkable trio of musicians. But in this case- their third recording- it’s not just a rarity, it’s a revolution: Bicycle Revolution. The word “bicycle” means: 1. a vehicle with two wheels in tandem, pedals connected to the rear wheel by a chain, handlebars for steering and a saddle-like seat. 2. to ride a bicycle. Could the bicycle, here, be a metaphor for a self-generating collective meta-conscious revolution in motion? Relevantly, the word “revolution” has several meanings: 1. a complete and forcible overthrow and replacement of an established government by the people governed. 2. a sudden, complete, or radical change in something: a social revolution caused by automation. 3. a procedure or course, as if in a circuit, back to a starting point. 4. turning around or rotating, as on an axis. 5. the orbiting of one heavenly body around another. 6. a cycle of events in time or in a recurring period of time. As to the possibilities of a “bicycle revolution” in a contemporary utopio-musical conception: this writer believes that if Antonin Artaud, Albert Ayler and Hermann Helmholtz were still alive- and clad in guerilla army attire- they would gladly join forces with Johnny La Marama in this meta-vibrational invasion of bicycles and rubber boats upon the shores of today’s jazz scene, re-revolving their way into the far reaches of the galaxy, the Tiergarten and the imagination.


“Fellow earthlings- you six-Billion-plus CO2 exhalers- Join the Bicycle Revolution!” JLM introduces us to Bob Denard (the former French legionnaire soldier who found his true calling organising coupes in minor African states), played here by the band’s Franco-Finnish friend Charles Gil. Afro-beat flavour accompanies the troops pumping up rubber boats and oiling their bicycles. We can hear the two-wheeled guerrillas getting into sonic combat with the bomb-bass-tic explosions in Dahlgren’s solo. They ride ever-onwards, taking over the capital with their polyrhythmic bicycles and set up base-camp upon the ruins of the automobile factory headquarters. “The revolution won’t eat its children as long as they keep riding their bicycles. Let’s ride as long as our butts can take it!”


for the other songs look here.

No comments: