Maxim at Mojo’s – When Bajan nightspot turned purple into blue

I can’t help but to remember Michelle in Allo, Allo for her most infamous line – I shall say zis only once… Yet how appropriate for the following bombshell? A Frenchman playing Prince in a blues-style at a Bajan nightclub… WHAT? Told you I’d only say it once, but lemme tell ya – It Works!

His influences apart from His Royal Purpleness include Robert Johnson, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis! Maxim hails from Perpignan, a small French town between La Midi or the South and the Pyrenees the mountains separating France and Spain. There’s a lot more on him but it’s in Fran?aise and mon French is tres rust?e, so if you know French, then you can e-mail moi and tell us everything this says, it came from his MySpace page –

If purple was blue. Traduction (approximative) : jouer Prince en blues. Projet fou, difficile, mais paradoxalement le travail le plus r?ussi et le plus personnel de Maxime Bolasell. Certains crieront ? l?imposture, d?autres au blasph?me, ceux qui auront rat? The Truth, bijou de blues acoustique sorti en 1997 des studios Paisley Park.

Et pourtant? Lorsqu?on ?coute If purple was blue, le disque autoproduit de Presque tout seul, on jurerait que les morceaux ont ?t? compos?s comme ?a, sur un bout de bois. M?lodiste fabuleux ? Miles Davis le comparait ? Duke Ellington ? Prince est avant tout un enfant du blues, qui appuie largement son ?criture sur les fondations pos?es jadis par Robert Johnson puis Muddy Waters. Presque tout seul remet donc tout ? plat et expose au grand jour cette filiation.

Sur les c?l?brissimes Kiss et Alphabet Street, le lien est ?vident. Idem pour The Ride, blues sans appel, grave et inspir?. Mais on d?couvre aussi tous ces tubes, habit?s par une guitare et une voix instinctives et incisives : Another lover holen yo head, le sublime She?s always in my hair, Controversy, un When doves cry, subtil et raffin? ou encore, contrepoint absolu, ce Purple rain, l?ger et presque joyeux, comme ci, finalement, rien n??tait moins s?rieux que le blues.

Au fil des morceaux, l?atmosph?re oscille entre le d?pouillement de Junior Kimbrough, l?emportement de Sonnie Terry ou les accents plus ?lectriques d?Albert King ou du farfelu Johnny Guitar Watson. Mais tous gardent de la premi?re ? la derni?re note la sinc?rit? absolue d?un Tom Waits.

Tourn?e fran?aise en 2008 Comment pourrait-il en ?tre autrement d?un album solo, solitaire m?me, enregistr? au fond d?une cuisine, quelque part dans l?Ouest de l?Angleterre? C?est l? aussi, que Presque tout seul a rod? les morceaux sur sc?ne ? Bath, ? Bristol. La suite? Apr?s des concerts au M?diator et au Rockstore et les invitations de quelques festivals de blues europ?ens audacieux pour l??t? 2008, il la voit sans doute en gris, comme toujours, au fond de sa cuisine.

The?re Rats in my Kitchen, chantait Sleepy John Estes. Chez Maxime Bolasell aussi. Mais sinc?rement, aujourd?hui, on esp?re qu?ils y restent !
Y. L.

Just last month he was in Morocco, Monday he was at Mojo’s and tonight he’ll be at St Lawrence Gap with Alex and Amanda at The Gap Bar. But I can tell you about Monday night at Mojo’s! It seems his girlfriend is from the UK and she is holidaying here and so that’s how he landed up here.

Maxim’s voice slides from his own scale to Prince’s falsetto to Satchmo’s growl with barely a shift of gears. He plays the fretboard of his axe at a blinding pace or draws on a bass-string so hard I swear it’ll pop, but it holds and delivers the correct note for that sweet moment!

He has original material but I can’t tell you what the heck is called as he delivers it in his native tongue. He also sashays at Sting in “It’s Probably Me” from the 3rd in the Lethal Weapon film series.

He also did Stevie Wonder’s Superstition with a crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. I asked him at intermission how long has he been doing this and he said in a thick accent, for ten years!

Maxim was so hot there was even a cameo appearance from ex-NCF Carol Roberts (Hair and dress in matching shades of brilliant red) and Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, apart from the visit by reggae entertainer Tanya Stevens.

There was even a guest spot from Gar-V with Mojo’s very own Slims doing 2 Barrington Levy hits – Vice Versie Love & Be Strong – then he went back to tending bar like it was no big deal. It was a greast interpretation that respected the original yet held its own as well.

Every Monday, Mojo’s seeks to highlight or showcase new talent for Barbados’ growing alternative scene and we enjoy it when we get the chance! Maxim also had his own CD’s on sale so we got a copy to review, stay tuned! {PSGot a Nikon L10 finally, way better pix, no?}

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