Event Review: Cortex @ The Jazz Café (London, 15th June 2017)

It is not often that you can attend a live performance evoking a historical music phenomenon that no present music scene will ever bring back. It’s what music does, it transcends both space and time – we get to feel how innovative and unique that time was. And how relevant it remains for the continuum of music innovation.

On the 15th of June (presented by Mr. Bongo), the non-original Cortex band with the one-and-only leader, Alain Mion on keyboard brought a playful, dynamic, and vibrant excitement to the stage of the Jazz Cafè, Camden. It was the first time for Alain Mion gigging in London, on occasion for the reissue of the legendary Troupeau Bleu, the French funky jazz pioneer album, released in 1975 by Disques Espérance.


The band performed full-bodied versions of Cortex’ most iconic tunes, without losing kink. The instrumental dialogues between the drums and bass, played respectively by Cedric Affre and Patrik Boman, provided the catchy grooviness that makes you think, ‘Oh, I have to dance to this too’. Besides, we got to see ’s fingers dancing on the keyboards as if he just came up with the right musical Tessera.

Unable to stay still as soon as the piano-fingering attacks the board, people respond to the echoes of bossa nova funk groove, from song one to the very last. Running parallel, there are moments of romantic interludes, where the timid and angelic voice of Adeline de Lépinay and the sonic graceful effects of Loic Soulat at sax and synthesizer – evoke the irresistible charm of the chanson Françoise with soul-jazz rearrange.


MF Doom, Lope Fiasco, Mos Def, and Rick Ross sampled Cortex’ major hits, bringing to attention those sounds belonging to the pioneer of French funk-jazz era. ‘Troupeau Bleu’ has recently been reissued in USA & Canada by Vestibular Records (30th of June). We truly hope that, as many other undercurrent bands left aside from the mainstream music business, Cortex will receive a second wave of wherewithal by ways of contemporary cultural and musical phenomenon and re-acknowledgments like hip-hop and subgenres. Au Revoir Cortex!