Who better to initiate the rebirth of Impulse! Records than Henry Butler? After all, the first time the label was given a new life in 1986, their first recording was Flyin' Around, his debut album as a leader. Viper's Drag is a collaboration between the pianist/composer with in-demand trumpeter and arranger Steven Bernstein (Sexmob, MTO Orchestra), surrounded by an all-star cast including drummer Herlin Riley, bassist Reggie Veal, saxophonists Michael Blake, Peter Apfelbaum, and Erik Lawrence, violinist Charlie Burnham, clarinetist Doug Wieselman, trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, and guitarist Matthew Munisteri. The set features readings of Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton tunes, three Butler originals, and two other classic pre-War numbers.
And now, Bon Voyage is once again set to surface, on June 15. The folk-prog odyssey teems with ideas and sounds—flute solo breakdowns, half-whispered singing, multiple languages, and psychedelic guitar freakouts. Before her accident, the French artist decamped to Sweden to work on the album with psychedelic brethren Fredrik Swahn of the Amazing and Dungen’s Reine Fiske. In part, the music is a testament to the trio’s mutual love of deep-cut oddities. (Prochet cites Turkish composer Özdemir Erdoğan, Brazilian singer-songwriter Milton Nascimento, and soulful crate-digger favorite Shuggie Otis as influences.) The resulting record is one that she describes as “a little winter’s tale.”