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ALL THE QUÉBEC JAZZ NEWS SINCE 2003

JazzBulletin   -   Thursday July 19 2018 to Sunday August 5 2018

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Saxophonist, composer, bandleader, arranger and teacher Christine Jensen with Dave Restivo, Lex French, Adrian Vedady and Greg Ritchie Wed. Aug. 1st the Festi Jazz Mont-Tremblant.

Christine Jensen 150x150.jpgChristine Jensen will be accompanied by Toronto pianist Dave Restivo, New-Zealand-born trumpeter Lex French, the ever-trustworthy Adrian Vedady on the bass and the man keeping things on time and in rhythm on the skins, Greg Ritchie. So here's a few words I exchanged with Christine by email as she was taking a few days off with her family following a concert at the Halifax Jazz Festival.
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CT - Christine, let's talk roots and family a little bit...your mother was a musician, your sister is trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and that often an older brother/sister  musically influences the other...is that the case and if so who influenced who? if not how did it happen?

Christine Jensen - I grew up with loads of music around me. My mother was an accomplished pianist and elementary music teacher, and my sisters Ingrid and Janet were lucky to be in a band program with brass instruments at a young age. I took piano lessons from a young age, and really started to have an interest in music once I joined the band class on saxophone. Both sisters influenced me with the music they were listening to in the house. We all loved anything that was popular at the time, from Manhattan Transfer to The Police. My mother influenced us with Oscar Peterson along with great vocalists like Mel Torme and Ella Fitzgerald.

CT - And what was your first ever ever musical love ? what song ? do you remember?

Christine Jensen - I really loved listening to music that bridged pop and jazz, leading me quickly to David Sanborn and Michael Brecker. I would play along with Sanborn’s melodies with records. Otherwise playing All Blues in junior high school combo was my first real step toward improvisation and performing on saxophone.

CT - How did you evolve into jazz and who were your first influences?

Christine Jensen - Both my sisters and my mother were my first influences, with strong melody all around me. I would say that performing in dance bands was also a big influence. I loved the sound of so many instruments in harmony and how each section converses with the written music.

CT - When did you start playing the saxophone?

Christine Jensen - I started playing saxophone in Grade 6, at age 11. Ingrid already chose the trumpet and Janet chose the trombone. They insisted that I play saxophone.

CT - You'll be doing the Festi Jazz concert with Lex French, Dave Restivo, Adrian Vedady and Greg Ritchie...how did that happen?

Christine Jensen - It’s a mixture of old and new friends in music. I have a long history with pianist Dave Restivo from Toronto. He is a virtuoso in sharing in ideas through jazz improvisation. We started performing together in 2002, and he and I have been very simpatico in what we love about approaching composition and our dialogue in improvisation. Greg has always been a fantastic rhythmic force in my music that is so easy to communicate with. Adrian, Lex and I have some new projects we are working on, so we have been spending a lot of time together lately. It is such a treat to have Lex on the stage with me in the front line, as we love to perform classic jazz repertoire along with taking voyages with new compositions that he and I compose. He is just a fantastic trumpet player with big ears!

CT - What repertoire will you be playing with the Quintet Aug. 1st? Music from Infinitude your last album in 2016 ?

Christine Jensen - I am starting to have a large repertoire of my own to draw from. We will play some new compositions that I have done in the past year, as well as some pieces from Infinitude. We will also draw from my previous small group albums that feature Dave Restivo, as well as a few compositions that Lex and I love to perform, including Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington.

CT -  What are your thoughts on gender equality in jazz? How do you see the situation here in Montreal for women musicians?

Christine Jensen - I see progress. I  think that with consciousness, mentorship and strong support from colleagues, we can all move forward with a more gender balanced playing environment for instrumentalists. There are so many up and coming young players that I am teaching. If I were to give advice, it is to work on strong musicianship, and seeking out your own unique voice or sound in this music. It’s a long road full of surprises in the best way possible.

CT -  Ok here's a tough one...how do you think jazz is doing? how can we make it grow?

Christine Jensen - I think jazz is always expanding in terms of palette. In a weird way, this is a healthy time  in Montreal as there are more than a handful of venues, and a ton of creative musicians ready to take on projects. Internationally renowned musicians are able to work out of this city and flourish. We could use more media outlets, in terms of publicists, journalism, and content sharing. With government support it would be great to hear CBC and R-C could take on a stronger role in creating more music platforms for non-commercial music. This is really helping sustain creative communities abroad, and we are missing out on that here. I also hope that the public realizes that they can spend their time and $s on live music. Visiting jazz in clubs is still cheaper that going to the cinema at a certain level.

CT - You'Ve played with many musicians and great bands, tell us about a really WOW!!! moment playing you've had...

Christine Jensen - Too many to mention, but I think performing with Kenny Wheeler in Banff in 1994 helped get me ready for anything. I had to build up the courage to ask him to perform my music in a quintet setting. It was the best experience for me in terms of hearing my music played by a master and a hero of mine. Performing with my jazz orchestra at Lincoln Center in 2011, with 7 month old baby backstage, husband Joel Miller (sax) onstage, along with my sister Ingrid (trpt) and brother-in-law Jon Wikan (drums) was also a fun one. So many of my heroes and family were on stage with me, along with an audience of discerning listeners. Last highlight, Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra Tour of Canada/US in 2015. It was a precious time of performing more than once.

CT - You've recorded and impressive body of work, so many albums/projects with different formations over the last 10 years while teaching, as well as playing gigs, directing the ONJM quite a bit, etc etc wow that's prolific!  (here's the list : Infinitude/Transatlantic Conversations/Habitat/Treelines/Under the Influence Suite/Flurry/Look Left/A Shorter Distance/Collage)

Are you brewing up a next one?

Christine Jensen - I am definitely planning some recording adventures that continue documenting my progress as an improviser and composer. I will head to Sweden for a concert and production with my friend Maggi Olin, and we have a goal of recording some live large ensemble. I will also continue with another project capturing the intriguing sounds of Ben Monder in the next year. I really want to work with some different orchestrations and forms with a focus on blending his sound with mine and members of my band.

CT - What music do you listen to while driving?

Christine Jensen - Barely any these days. I am mostly obsessed with podcasts on current events, or fiction. If I have the luxury of silence and a drive, I will try to catch  up on friend's current releases. However, my  go-to is always any  catalogue of Gil Evans, Egberto Gismonti or Wayne Shorter :-)

CT - What more would you like to say to our readers about the Aug. 1st Quintet concert?

Christine Jensen -  Get ready for some exciting energy of new sounds through an acoustic quintet. We will be exploring and communicating through our sounds. I imagine that we will be continuing our conversation, while starting new ones as we are in the moment on stage. Really looking forward to this band performing with a high level of  energy through our improvisations and navigation of old and new forms.

Saxophonist Christine Jensen with pianist Dave Restivo, trumpeter Lex French, bassist Adrian Vedady and drummer Greg Ritchie is the Opening Concert of the Série Jazz sous les Étoiles on the Grande Scène of the 11th Festi Jazz Mont-Tremblant - Wed. Aug. 1st at 9pm.

For more info : Festi Jazz Mont-Tremblant
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Interview : Claude Thibault


At the 11th Festi Jazz Mont-Tremblant,  Aug. 1-5 with with bassist Sylvain Gagnon and his trio, the Leaf 4tet, Jiménez-Thouin–Watts-Laing, the brazilian jazz of Lynx and singer Annie Poulain on afternoons at 3pm...

Sylvain Gagnon 150x150.jpgThe Festi Jazz Mont-Tremblant will present its 11th edition in downtown Mont-Tremblant at the corner of the streets of Saint-Jovite and Charbonneau. Nearly 50 free concerts with more than 120 artists will be presented on two outdoor stages and in seven venues.

As the sun slowly makes it's way for the stars at the Festi Jazz Mont-Tremblant, the two series presented on the big stage will dazzle you with the quality of the artists: the Piano Libre Promutuel Boréale Insurance series at 7pm presents pianists Vincent Gagnon, Simon Denizart, Arden Arapian, André Dequech and Emie R Roussel (pic). 

At 9m, the Jazz sous les étoiles series presents the Christine Jensen Quintet for the opening concert on Wednesday Aug. 1st, the Axel Fisch Quintet on Thursday August 2nd, the Michel Ferrari Trio on Friday Aug. 3rd, the Grand Événement with the Joe Sullivan Sextet that includes saxmen Kirk MacDonald and Yannick Rieu, pianist François Bourassa, bassist Adrian Vedady and drummer André White on Saturday Aug. 4th, and Yoel Diaz Quartet for the closing concert on Sunday August 5th.

Join us for a unique experience during the Masterclasses series every day at 11am at the Jazz Lounge stage. These morning meetings under the trees testify to the exceptional conviviality of the Festi Jazz Mont-Tremblant. Every day a musician converses with the audience about musical techniques, inspiration and his affiliation with music : Sylvain Gagnon, Jean-Pierre Zanella, Carlos Jiménez, Kirk MacDonald et Normand Guilbeault will ensure these meetings.

Two series of concerts will be presented on the Jazz Lounge stage. The Relève Jazz Laurentides series allows to discover every day at 1pm the young wolves of the new jazz talent from the greater Laurentian area such as the Zachary Boileau Trio, the Michael Marcotte Quartet, the Samuel Jacques Trio, the Arielle Soucy Quartet and the Marcus Lowry Trio. The Groupe Yves Gagnon Jazz Lounge series at 3pm presents a variety of ensembles coming from diversified musical horizons, like bassist Sylvain Gagnon (pic) and his Trio, the Leaf Quartet, Jiménez-Thouin–Watts-Laing, the brazilian jazz of Lynx and singer Annie Poulain and her quartet. All in a festive and friendly atmosphere!

And don't miss the festive Festi Jam at 10:45 pm every night at the marquee Jazz Lounge!

Other artists included in the program include Michel Donato, Carlos Jiménez, Normand Guilbeault,  Dave Lang, Daniel Thouin, Jean-Pierre Zanella, Dave Watts, Jim Hilman Robert Ménard, André Dequesch, Camil Bélisle, Simon Denizart, Normand Lachapelle, Claude Lavergne, Michel Medrano, Thiago Ferte, Morgan Moore, Greg Ritchie, David Restivo, Lex French, etc

Visit jazztremblant for the complete programming.


The Forró Brasa collective welcomes singer Flávia Nascimento Sunday July 22nd at the Balattou for the Festival International Nuits d'Afrique.

Forro 150.jpgThe lovely instrumental blend provided by Forró Brasa, enhanced by distinctive vocal harmonies, brings traditional Québec and northern Brazilian cultures together in a lively and cheerful tempo, creating something special and full of charm.

Created in Montréal and blending the musical traditions of the Brazilian northeast and Québec, Forró Brasa carries its audience toward new musical horizons. The group consists of Sarah-Judith Hinse-Paré on violin, Diogo Ramos on guitar, Cláudio Nascimento on zabumba and Lissiene Neiva on triangle. Beyond this mesmerizing instrumental blend, you will be charmed by the distinctiveness of the vocal harmonies. Forró Brasa celebrates music, dance, love, history and the cultures of both countries. Diogo Ramos comes from São Paolo, and his music is nurtured by a broad tradition of Brazilian popular singers. He was part of the group Banda Pau D’àgua from 2000 to 2010 before settling in Montréal. The holder of a college diploma in recording techniques, he has collaborated with various artists while pursuing his own career as a musician and performer. Sarah-Judith Hinse-Paré, with origins in Québec and Burkina Faso, is a talented violinist and singer. In addition to the show by Forro Brasa, you can also see her this year at Nuits d’Afrique with K-iri, the jazz-soul duet she leads with Iri Dimako Chordi.

But that's not all...Forró Brasa will be joined by the warm and rich voice of brazilian singer Flávia Nascimento. Flávia will present a few pieces from her repertory rich in rhythms from Brazil : forró and musica popular brasileira (MPB), for one night only.

Don't miss it!

Festival International Nuits d'Afrique

Forró Brasa & Flávia Nascimento
Balattou
4372 boul St-Laurent
Sunday July 22nd 11pm


A few words with trumpeter and composer Joe Sullivan who's in a sextet formula with saxmen Kirk MacDonald and Yannick Rieu, pianist François Bourassa, bassist Adrian Vedady and drummer André White at the Festi Jazz Mont-Tremblant Saturday Aug. 4th.

Joue Sullivan.jpgCT - Joe, what led you to jazz coming from Timmins, a small Northern Ontario town?

Joe Sullivan - Timmins is a Northern town a little bit like Val d'Or, a mining town that's a bit isolated but with a good music scene for its size. We studied music with the Nuns and there was a good Kiwanis music festival. So like everybody else in my family, I studied the piano, my brother was 1st trombone for the OSM, now he's with the Pittsburgh Orchestra, my brother Tim is a great jazz pianist who's played with Bernard Primeau, my mother and my uncle sang, and listened to traditional jazz. I listened and played rock and pop. I started playing the trumpet in 11th grade but jazz came later. I then moved to Toronto and studied classical trumpet at the U of Toronto and the following year moved to Ottawa (all my friends where living there) where I got my Masters in classical trumpet. It's around that time that I got interested in jazz listening to, among others, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, etc, and hanging out with jazz musicians, there were many in the Ottawa area but not a big jazz scene. So I got slowly got into it, transcribing solos, going to jam sessions, but it's when I went to Boston's Berklee College that I really started playing jazz. After that I came back to Montreal, practising like crazy, going to all the jam sessions to again go back to Boston but this time at the New England Conservatory. My first band (playing my compositions) was with François Théberge, Normand Deveault, Normand Guilbeault and Denis Mailloux. I also studied with Charles Ellison et Kevin Dean, my idols at the time, I pursued my studies to eventually teach, that's how it happened.

CT - So you'll be playing Saturday Aug. 4th at the Festi Jazz Mont-Tremblant in a sextet formula with saxophonists Kirk MacDonald and Yannick Rieu, pianist  François Bourassa, bassist Adrian Vedady and drummer Andre White...

Joe Sullivan - I'd played last year at the Festi Jazz with my big band (Joe Sullivan Big Band), so I got in touch with Luc at the Festi Jazz and he liked this project and accepted it. It's not really my official sextet or it's music. I have a tendancy to play different music with my different groups, it's a challenge and it motivates me. So this is the quintet that I've had for two years with Yannick Rieu, François Bourassa, Adrian Vedady and Andre White, with the added presence of saxophonist Kirk MacDonald, with pieces slightly re-arranged to include Kirk.

CT - What drives you to write so much music?

Joe Sullivan - What really drives me is the fact I get a bit tired of playing the same pieces over and over and new music motivates me to organise projects and concerts, the other way around doesn't work for me.

CT - So you also lead the Joe Sullivan Big Band...one of the best big bands around playing in the Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa jazz festivals, how did that project happen?

Joe Sullivan - I actually started first started out as a composer, not a trumpet player. I always did that, even in High School with rock, pop, musical plays, etc...It when I was living in Ottawa that I started arranging pieces for big bands like Round Midnight and others. Later on Charles Ellison offered that I play 5th trumpet with the Concordia Big Band and I wrote an arrangement for the band. At a certain point when I was teaching at the Vanier College (before McGill) I had this idea to write music for big bands, so me and my friends got together and rehearsed to eventually really decide to launch this big band project, at the end of the nineties. When we started I'd write arrangements for the guest musician. These days I'm working on music with singers and texts in both english and french. It's going to be a reduced big band, we're actually rehearsing these days with singer Sarah Rossy.

CT - As a teacher how important is it for you to pass on jazz to the next generation?

Joe Sullivan - Very important but I want to pass it on to those who really want it...I'm very impressed by those who work hard and that understand that things won't come easy, it's easy to write a mediocre piece but really hard to write a great piece. In my long experience teaching those who make are the ones who really dig in and that produce a lot.

CT - Any young new trumpeters we should watch out for?

Joe Sullivan - Christopher Kerr-Barr a young 20 year old student at McGill, Lex French (New-Zealand), David Carbonneau, not so young but nonetheless...Andy King, and many others...the Montreal scene these days is really strong...lots of great musicians...

CT - What do you listen to in your car?

Joe Sullivan - Lots of things, Joe Loveno, bassist Jonathan Chapman Master's project (check him out), Mingus, Ellington, Monk, Miles, Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Art Farmer, Herbien Hancock, I'm back to my first loves...

CT - You've played with so many great musicians please share a wow moment you've had with some of them?

Joe Sullivan - Honestly I get that feeling every time I play with Toronto trumpeter Kevin Turcotte, whenever he plays in my band we play an arrangement of a standard, and when he plays watch out!, he's got so much fluidity and musicality...And then every time I play with guitarist Lorne Lofsky, the public doesn't realise that this man is a jewel, man he was even in Oscar Peterson's trio for many years, check him out. Saxophonist Al McLean, the other day at the Dièse Onze he was something else, a young master. He's invested himself quite a bit on the Montreal scene, going to all the jams and very present. Hearing Al Mclean play Giant Steps with Vic Vogel's band (yes Vic still rehearses), he's so inventive. You don't hear that much these days...

The Joe Sullivan Sextet with saxophonists Kirk MacDonald and Yannick Rieu, pianist François Bourassa, bassist Adrian Vedady and drummer André White is the Grand Événement in the Série Jazz sous les Étoiles on the Grande Scène of the 11th Festi Jazz Mont-Tremblant - Saturday Aug. 4th at 9pm.

For more info : Festi Jazz Mont-Tremblant
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Interview : Claude Thibault


CDJAZZ by Christophe Rodriguez

Alex Francoeur Group - Missing Element / Live at Upstairs

Jazz can only sound better when it's being played in the right place. So it's in that spirit that tenor saxman Alex Francoeur decided to record this album in the live setting of the Mackay St. Upstairs jazz club. For this Missing Element he's surrounded by pianist Gentiane MG, bassist Levi Dover, drummer Louis-Vincent Hamel, as well as alto saxophonist Chris Edmondson. This is a great band that does their thing on compositions by Alex Francoeur, laying down some nice tracks of solid jazz - sometimes a bit too close to the chart - but it's all good.

Going all out in regards to time and choruses everybody gets to express themselves giving a unique take on poetic pieces such as Tides, I Hear a Rhapsosy, Recovery or Try. As it's often the case, no standards, and because of that you might need a bit of time to ajust and we suggest you start with Tides, a track that highlights the synergy of the band. With the two voices of the two saxophones, creating a sound backdrop and a musical synthesis of the formation. I also dug The Dirge that highlights saxophonist Alex Francoeur and of course the title track : Missing  Element. Nice work.

Spark / The Dirge / Missing Element / Tides / I Hear a Rhapsody / Recovery / Xdf / Try / Spark - Reprise

Alex Francoeur, tenor sax
Chris Edmondson, alto sax
Gentiane MG, piano
Levi Dover, bass
Louis-Vincent Hamel, drums

For more info : alexfrancoeur.com

For a video of Tides, it's here

Alex Francoeur on FB, it's here

Missing Element is available on iTunes & Amazon

Christophe Rodriguez is also jazz, classical and book columnist/blogger at the Journal de Montréal


TVJAZZ  October 3 2013
Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra - Nishiyuu - L'OFF Jazz at the Lion d'Or, Oct. 3rd 2013


Discovering Brazil with guitarists and singers Filó, Celso and Felipe Machado in Septet at the Dièse Onze Friday July 20th.

Famille Machado 150x150.jpgWith the Machados, music has been a family affair since childhood. It was a way of communicating in between the six brothers as well as a way of surviving when they became orphans. Sidemen in coffee house concerts or musicians in chamber orchestras, they've adopted brazilian popular music (MPB) which has led them to play
all over the 5 continents.

Each one of them has made his way and was influenced by diverse styles. Guitarist and composer Filó Machado has more than fifty years of carreer under his belt, has been nominated at the Grammys and has played with the likes of Michel Legrand, Raul de Souza or Jon Hendricks. His music fuses the be-bop idiom, the popular  rhythms of Brazil and various colors drawn from a large spectrum of music.

Brother Celso Machado, also guitarist and composer, now lives in Vancouver. Throughout his career, he's been influenced by musical traditions from all over the world contributing to the evolution of brazilian popular music (MPB) with rhythms from North Africa, Egypt and the South of Italy. His creative virtuoso playing has often been heard solo but it's with the rest of the family that you'll hear him this Friday.

A footnote on the emerging talent that is Felipe Machado, the young guitarist that his grandfather Filó took under his wing and that holds a bright future.

So Friday night head for to the Dièse Onze and check out these seven energetic and talented musicians that will treat us to a voyage that originated in Ribeirão Preto from Brazil's South West, before going around the globe a few times bringing back loads of colours and exotic rhythms.

A night to savour solo, as a couple or as they are, with the family!

With Filó Machado, Celso Machado and Felipe Machado (voice/gtr), Vern Dorge (winds), Tico Souza (piano), Paco Luviano (bass), and Alan Hetherington (drums).

For more info on Filó : www.filomachado.com

For Baião do Porão by Filó, it's here

For more info on Celso : www.celsomachado.com

For Corrida de Jangada by Felipe, it's here

Friday July 20th 7pm
Dièse Onze
4115A St-Denis
514-223-3543   
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Benjamin Goron : benjamingoron@gmail.com
Facebook / twitter


TVJAZZ  October 11 2012
Johnson / Biddle Jr. / Poulain Triades - Le jardin des Orchidées - L'OFF Jazz 2012


TVJAZZ  July 5 2018
Dr Lonnie Smith Trio and Chris Potter - at the Montreal jazz Fest July 5th 2018


TVJAZZ  November 28 2013
Carlos Jiménez Trio - I'll Remember April - Dièse Onze, Nov 28 2013


TVJAZZ  October 16 2014
Joe Sullivan Lorne Lofsky Michel Donato Camil Bélisle - Wheatland - Les Grands Québécois du jazz at the FIJQ, Oct. 16 2014


TVJAZZ  May 6 2016
Axel Fisch Group - PAT - 50th anniversary concert - L'Alizée, May 6th 2016


TVJAZZ  April 8 2017
Le Gros Groupe with Yannick Rieu - Projet Groove 5 - Côté Cour, Festival Jazz et Blues Saguenay, April 8 2017


TVJAZZ  July 5 2018
Dominique Fils-Aimé - at the Montreal jazz Fest July 5th 2018


TVJAZZ  July 5 2018
Vincent Peirani Émile Parisien - at the Montreal jazz Fest July 5th 2018


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