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JazzBulletin   -   Thursday December 6 2018 to Monday December 31 2018

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Want Christophe Rodriguez to review your CD?

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Montréal, QC
H2L 4H2

We cannot garantee that your will CD will be listened to and commented for editorial and ressource reasons.
As is focused on the Québec jazz market, CDs from Québec artists or of artists present in the Québec jazz scene make up a strong pourcentage of the CDJazz content without excluding international jazz artists.

Christophe writes in french and the texts are translated by Claude Thibault.
The comments of Christophe Rodriguez are independant and are not related to any commercial activity in between the artist and

To contact Christophe directly :

For more information, please contact :

Claude Thibault
Editor - Business Development

 Christine Tassan et Les Imposteures - Django Belles

December 13, 2018

Once again it's that time of the year full of Xmas decorations, garlands and packed shopping centres. It's also Xmas music season with classics by Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.

But there's also...Django Belles by Christine Tassan et Les Imposteures! For those of you who hang out at the Dièse Onze on St-Denis St., you'll know that guitarist and singer Christine Tassan has been a regular with her gypsy jazz riffs on Thursdays for more than a dozen years. With this new release, quite appropriate for this holidayish time of the year, let's revisit some nicely done Xmas classics, as well as some non-Xmas stuff. And to give a bit more wind to the group, they've added trombonist Karine Gordon and trumpeter Justine Verreault-Fortin.

With themes close to the Quebec culture and our past, things start off with a first track presenting the Hockey night theme and Hiver maudit, popularised by Dominique Michel. And because Gilles Vigneault is always in our hearts, a revisited Mon pays is right on, as well as the doubling up of Marie-Noël (Robert Charlebois) with Claude Gauthier's L’hiver. And we could go on and on, as these little pearls are full of happiness, swing and something that's done with passion and love.

Happy Holidays!

La soirée du hockey / Hiver maudit
Mon pays
Fleur de grésil
Oggi Nevica (Reel Béatrice)
Tout l’monde a la grippe
Il est né le divin enfant / Joseph Joseph
L’hiver, Largo / Marie-Noël
Mele Kalikimaka
Marche de casse-noisette
Les neiges de Finlande / En tombant gentiment
Medley de Noël

For the Django Belles teaser video, it's here

To listen and buy Django Belles, it's here

For more info, Christine Tassan et Les Imposteures

Christine Tassan (lead guitar, voice)
Martine Gaumond
(violin, voice)
Lise-Anne Ross
(rhythm guitare, voice)
Blanche Baillargeon
(bass, voice)
Karine Gordon
Justine Verreault-Fortin

You can hear Christine Tassan and her friends every Thursday 6pm at the Dièse Onze.

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

 Rodrigo Simões - Jazz brésilien

November 29, 2018

Living in Quebec since 2015, guitarist/mandolinist Rodrigo Simões chases those winter blahs and cold with Jazz brésilien. This new happy and hip-shaking album featuring singer Sonia Johnson and saxophonist Jean-Pierre Zanella explores the fine line in between brazilian music and jazz, not unlike Stan Getz' emblematic Desafinado. With a great tempo and a mood that'll take you back to some of the good moments of the Montreal Jazz Fest, first track Partido Cearense is all about the swing, with some great bass licks by André Galamba. On Friend's Ship, hats off to the crystal-clear and fluid voice of Sonia Johnson, who, like a good bottle of wine, gets better and better over the years.

And then there's some guests like brilliant saxophonist Jean-Pierre Zanella who give to the piece D’ale a sound that might bring to mind the departed Gato Barbieri, but with less tension. In six minutes and a bit more here's a nice ballad to settle by the fireplace. Also quite happy that Rodrigo Simões brought back to memory huge harmonicist Toots Thielemans with Bluesette. On a samba groove, the smiling belgian is with us and I'm pretty sure he's giving Sonia Johnson a big hug. Bright and luminous her take on Bluesette is a gem, just like this new release.

Treat yourself or a loved one, this album makes a nice gift.

Partido Cearense / Eye Ear Toe / Friend's Ship / Nouvelle samba / Bluesette / D'ale / Tapiraí à Juquiá / Mix for All /
Vento Minuano / I Remember / I Remember - Radio Edit

For the Facebook concert/video launch event, Friday Nov. 30th 9pm at Résonance (5175A Parc), it's here

For the teaser video, it's here

For more info,

To listen, buy and share, c'est ici

Rodrigo Simoes, guitar and compositions
Sonia Johnson, voice
Jean-Pierre Zanella, saxophone
Papacho Sirdey, piano
André Galamba, bass
Fabrice Laurent, drums and percussions

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

 Sam Kirmayer - High And Low

November 15, 2018

The organ-guitar pairing is a classic in the world of jazz and its satellites funk and soul. In that spirit of mind - and we're real happy about that - Montreal guitarist Sam Kirmayer gets together with NY organist Ben Paterson for High And Low. After two nights of studio and two Upstairs concerts, it was a done deal. With drummer Dave Laing, this fine trio brings to mind the Jimmy Smith/Wes Montgomery tandem, and even more the meeting of guitarist René Thomas with organist Eddy Louiss. If you want to talk about jazz that's fit for the cold winter nights and that you can cozy up to, this music recorded in the spirit of the best Blue Note years will make its way in your home for some nice'n'easy down time.

More than simple finesse, this finely detailed work and the beautiful choruses is the sum of their collective experiences. Starting off with the gentle swing of title track High And Low, moving on to the very beautiful ballad Nancy (With The Laughing Face), and then Ill Wind, a great standard that's often forgotten. It had been a long time that I'd heard such narrative quality in the playing. Everything falls right into place, with ease, without ever trying to impress. On nine tracks and as a bonus a seldom heard composition by saxophonist Coleman Hawkins : Almost Dawn, this release is a gem.

High And Low / Farnsworth / Nancy (With The Laughing Face) / On A Clear Day / What Could Have Been / Cazelais Oublie /
Ill Wind / Recurrence  / Almost Dawn

For the High And Low video EPK, it's here

On Soundcloud, it's here

To buy on Cellar Live, it's here and on Amazon, it's here

For more info,

Sam Kirmayer, guitar
Ben Paterson, organ
Dave Laing, drums

The Sam Kirmayer Trio with singer Laura Anglade will be paying a tribute to the music of Cole Porter Thursday Nov. 22nd at the the Bourgie Hall of the Montreal Museaum of Fine Arts, for more info, it's here

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

 The Romance of Improvisation in Canada - The Genius of Eldon Rathburn

November 1, 2018

Now this is a nice surprise. If you didn't already know the name of Canadian composer Eldon Rathburn (1916-2008) , associated for a very very long time with the National Film Board, it's a bit normal so now's the time to discover his work. With over 250 soundtracks under his belt, mostly for animated films, his career has been more than prolific. From classical to jazz, with bluegrass, blues, electric and even sacred music along the way, this new jazz release that will certainly please you highlights his raw talent. The Romance of Improvisation in Canada revisits some of his pieces with a great Quintet made up of pianist Marianne Trudel, trumpeter Kevin Turcotte, bassist Adrian Vedady, drummer Jim Doxas and saxophonist Petr Cancura.

With twelve tracks that give us jazz at its best, these are short films that evolve on tantalizing arrangements. Conveyance By Canoe recalls Neal Hefti as well as Duke Ellington with Kevin Turcotte giving us quick course on the « plunger », while Fish Spoilage dives head on in a car chase like the title track The Romance of Improvisation in Canada. On Club Café Tango, we're reminded the suppleness of Gil Evans crossbred with Charles Mingus. Great players and great interpretations!

It's all good, so we're happy. This would make a great concert at a Festival!

The Romance of Improvisation in Canada / Fish Spoilage / Conveyance by Canoe / Club Café Tango /
The Industrial Revolution Comes to Canada / Ox Driver's Blues Pt I / Ox Driver's Blues Pt II / Ox Driver's Blues Pt III / Police / Fresh Fish Delight! - Le poisson se mange frais! / Rathburn Mambo / The Rockies

To listen to the title track The Romance of Improvisation in Canada, it's here

For more info, Justin Time

Petr Cancura, saxophone
Kevin Turcotte, trumpet & flugelhorn
Marianne Trudel, piano
Adrian Vedady, bass
Jim Doxas, drums

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

 Samuel Blais - Equilibrium

October 18, 2018

The 2018 fall season is full of discoveries and highlights saxophonists such as Mehdi Nabti and his Les Règles de l’Art and Benjamin Deschamps and his No Codes, but there's more. On saxophonist (alto/baritone) Samuel Blais' Equilibrium, you'll discover ten solid tracks of jazz that have depth, with a modern jazz idiom that might require a bit more listening time for jazz newbies. This is far from jazz standards, and creativity, a form of art in itself, makes total sense on this album.

With a very busy road map and many musical connections, this new release is up to par to the musician's level. Even if this isn't some easy-listening jazz, those who love creative jazz that stands out will get into Equillibrium. With a solid team made up of pianist Jérôme Beaulieu, bassist Olivier Babaz and drummer Alain Bourgeois, the saxophonist and composer incites us to discover. Cultivating balance with a masterful laid-back attitude that's never severe, Samuel Blais displays a language that denotes years of playing, with a certain approach to risk and musical adventure. There's a lot of power here, with smouldering solos supported by a trio that is very cohesive. From the poetic From Hangzou to Nanning to Spiral Vision as well as Craig’s List, this rich new release stands out with it's relevance.

From Hangzhou to Nanning / Imitation Game / Craig's List / Unconditional / Third Row / 12 Shades of NYC / Semi-Chubby /
Ups and Downs / Spiral Vision

For a video excerpt, it's here

To listen to tracks on YouTube, it's here

To buy on iTunes, it's here

For more info, Samuel Blais

Samuel Blais, alto/baritone sax and compositions
Jérôme Beaulieu, piano
Olivier Babaz, bass
Alain Bourgeois, drums

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

 Johanne Desforges - L’essence du temps / Essence of Time

October 4, 2018

Lauched at Upstairs Oct. 3rd, L’Essence du temps / Essence of Time is singer Johanne Desforges' fifth album. With english and french texts this album with a billingual title skilfully combines poetry and some very nicely done jazz standards. To make things different and to stand out of the pack a majority of the tracks were written by this experienced singer/songwriter with a lot of swing. Let's take for example Leave Me or Leave Me, a silky smooth scat that evokes Sarah Vaughan and the underestimated Carmen McRea. And then there's Irving Berlin's How Deep Is The Ocean, a beautifully mastered ballad that highlights her warm and relaxed voice, as well as the musicians on this musical adventure.

This is unique, and we hope it'll happen again, to have Valérie Lacombe on the drums, with the very talented Sam Kirmayer on guitar, Jonathan Chapman on bass, and on the handpan, a kind of « steel drum  », her son Julien Desforges. After the standards, let's talk about her french compositions. My favorites : La Drague, Essence, of course, and the very beautiful White Lights. This is a brave new release as jazz sung in french is a rare thing. Discover or rediscover a very beautiful voice.

Le Temps / How Deep is the Ocean / My Men / Lazy Afternoon / La Drague / Love me or Leave Me / Essence / Ton Ombre / Astrology / White Lights / La Dernière Pluie

For the making of video, it's here

To listen to a sample, it's here

For more info, Johanne Desforges
Christophe Rodriguez is also jazz, classical and book columnist/blogger at the Journal de Montréal

 James Gelfand Trio - Ground Midnight

September 20, 2018

Pianist and composer James Gelfand is a pillar of the Montreal jazz scene. From guitarist Sonny Grennwich to bassist Michel Donato, from singer Gino Vanelli to Merlin Factor, his jazz career is rich but equally quite busy composing film scores. Ground Midnight, a reference to Round Midnight by composer/pianist Thelonious Monk is inspired by jazz as well as his work in film. Let's say it right away, this is some heavy-hitting stuff, at the frontiers of composition and jazz where many currents meet, and for our greatest pleasure.

Take a moment and listen to the beauty that emanates from Wanderley. Éric Satie's soul is in there so in regards to the meeting of genres, James Gelfand is a master. On Ground Midnight, here too, rich in finesse and intelligence, he evokes that special time of day that's the twilight, as well as the precision of this composition that's stood the test of time. With bassist Morgan Moore and drummer Jim Doxas, he teaches us a real lesson on what the art of the trio is, and I'm reminded of departed jazz giant Randy Weston as well as the inescapable Bill Evans. Another great moment, Duke Ellington's Caravan revisited in a simple fashion, but oh so sensitive. A nice achievement like we'd love to hear more often.

Caravan / Septaloupe Bay / Two Dozen Matters / Stone Circles / TransJiguration / Horizons / Ground Midnight / Wanderly

James Gelfand, piano
Morgan Moore, bass
Jim Doxas, drums

To listen and/or buy, Analekta, Archambault, Spotify, iTunes

Come and discover Ground Midnight with the James Gelfand Trio, Thursday Oct. 4th 21pm at the Dièse Onze.

For the event on Facebook, it's here

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

 Benjamin Deschamps - No Codes

September 6, 2018

Alto saxophonist Benjamin Deschamps is one of our younger jazzmen that is creating positive expectations for jazz. After Demi-Lune in 2017 and the enviable recognition of the Radio-Canada Jazz Revelation in 2017-2018, he's back with No Codes, kicking off the back-to-school fall season. Surrounded by tenor sax Frank Lozano, bassist Sébastien Pellerin and drummer Louis-Vincent Hamel, No Codes will make its way in your home, and in many genres. Without copying certain musical influences such as Julian « Cannonball  » Adderley or the underestimated Jackie McLean, the 11 tracks make up a consistent fare.

After a few listens, we can already notice there's a real evolution in Benjamin's playing as well as the approach, like with the powerful opening track :  Rules of Compression. There's twice the talent and intelligent phrasing in between the two saxophonists, Song for Daniel is a very good example with some classical phrasing like the music of pionneer and saxophonist Marcel Mule. This new release is real treat and we could just go on and on. Of course you'll need a bit of time to get used to this music but Benjamin Deschamps is not a man with shallow ideas. No Codes is inspiring, brilliant, with a lot of intensity and know-how...a huge bravo!

Rules of Compression / Song for Daniel / Cream Muffin Treat / Interlude 1 / Cool Cats / No I Didn't / Double Meaning /
Interlude 2 / Quick Fix / Reconciliation  / My Steps

Benjamin Deschamps, alto sax
Frank Lozano, tenor, tenor sax
Sébastien Pellerin, bass
Louis-Vincent Hamel, drums

For the No Codes promo video, it's here

To listen to it on Bandcamp, it's here

No Codes will be presented in Quebec City's Bar Ste-Angèle Friday the 7th and Saturday the 8th of Sept. @ 8:30pm and Montreal's Dièse Onze Friday the 21st of Sept. @ 6pm.

For more info, Benjamin Deschamps

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

 Jean-Marc Hébert - L’attente

August 23, 2018

A classically trained guitarist that's quite active in jazz, I just discovered Montreal instrumentist Jean-Marc Hébert after...ten albums! Here and there I could re-listen part of his work and really enjoyed it. To say he's a fine guitarist is a euphemism, the musician has a wide range of playing, a mix of Jim Hall and Pat Metheny, with his own very personal touch, and it's great. With this intriguingly titled new release, L'attente, the guitarist has surrounded himself with a dream team. At the piano sits brilliant pianist Marianne Trudel, on the bass the always versatile Rémi-Jean LeBlanc, and at the drums the inescapable Pierre Tanguay.

To take a break from your daily worries, Jean-Marc Hébert treats us to a moment of peace and quiet, and it's not a sleeping pill. Throughout the pieces, starting with the title track L'attente, he wisely guides in his universe that combine poetry, the right notes and more, avoiding stylistic trappings. With a lot of wisdom and intelligence, making a lot of room for his collegues, Jean-Marc Hébert highlights the melody, colors the themes on lavish arrangements. Out of this perfect understanding arises a common language, natural and melodic, such as on : Ombres errantes, Décembre, as well as in Un instant de liesse. The fall season is off to a good start.

L'attente / Un instant de liesse / Ombres errantes / La contée mélancolique / Le cercle / Décembre / Élégie

Jean-Marc Hébert, guitar
Marianne Trudel, piano
Rémi-Jean LeBlanc, bass
Pierre Tanguay, drums

Jean-Marc Hébert and his Quartet are in concert this Friday Aug. 24th 7pm at the Dièse Onze.

To listen and buy, YouTube, Amazon et Spotify

Jean-Marc Hébert on FB, it's here

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

 Alex Lefaivre - YUL

August 9, 2018

Tuesday Aug. 14th 2018 at the Dièse Onze in a festive 6 to 8, young bassist / double bassist Alex Lefaivre, founder of the Parc X Trio, welcomed us to the launch of his new album : YUL. Like the album name says (YUL is the Mtl airport code), this is not an invitation to travel to far away lands but to travel right here in Montréal. In the handwritten message that joined the CD that I received the instrumentist says : YUL finds its inspiration in the city that I grew up in, and where I chose to live. I've spent many years walking in its paths, travelling on the metros and buses, looking for my muse in it's public venues and recesses.

Althought YUL doesn't name streets or places, we recognise with this release many aspects of Montreal. With these very personal compositions that sometimes have a cinematographic title : Halloween (a reinterpretation of a John Carpenter film soundtrack) or a detective novel such as The Juggernaut as well as Nostalgia, Alex Lefaivre draws a very beautiful canvas with a background of modernity. Sided by drummer Mark Nelson, guitarist Nicolas Ferron and alto saxophonist Erik Hove, Alex Lefaivre shares his vision of urban poetry, just like the band's sound. Throughout what we could qualify as a perfect connection, Alex and his collegues play some very beautiful melodies and riffs, with today's sounds. This common langage that is miles away from studio writing allows us to discover the talent of a composer, as well as of a bassist that knows how to share his emotions.

The Righteous / Halloween / Estelle / The Juggernaut / Nostalgia / Skyline / Cascade / YUL

Alex Lefaivre, bass & compositions
Erik Hove, alto sax
Nicolas Ferron, guitar
Mark Nelson, drums

To see two teasers, it's here and here

To see the video of Cascade, it's here

To listen and buy : iTunes, Google, Amazon

YUL launch : Tuesday Aug. 14th 7pm @ Dièse Onze

The Aug. 14th launch on FB, it's here

Alex Lefaivre on FB, it's here

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

 Rémi-Jean LeBlanc - Déductions

July 26, 2018

From one end of Montreal to the other, in either of one of the city's jazz clubs or as a sideman in many projects you're bound to run into young bassist Rémi-Jean LeBlanc. Among the rising "stars" that give substance and weight to our local jazz, you can count on this talented instrumentalist. We'd missed him at this recent Montreal Jazz Fest concert, so let's catch up and highlight the musician. For this new album that offers a very wide palette of what a bassist can do and conceptualise, he's joined by brilliant pianist Rafael Zaldivar, drummer Samuel Joly and American guitarist Nir Felder. On ten very personal compositions, with once again no standards, Déductions is a multifaceted new release that invites us to discovery, without copying his predecessors.

Throuhought the tracks, we discover this universe that sometimes reminds us of Weather Report, of guitarist John Scofield's work and this natural ambiance, switching from one mood to another, while staying modern and tasteful. I don't make it a habit of listening albums starting with the first track so I got the ball rolling with the happy/funky Guidoue, followed by Talk Loud Not Soft and the very beautiful Shanghai. After those three pieces, the tone was set for our greatest pleasure. The music is bold, supported by a collective approach that multiplies the diversity of sounds and the moment's inspiration. Thru the progression of exchanges, Rémi-Jean LeBlanc avoids the trappings of copying and demonstrates us a real talent for composing and directing the ensemble.

Miniature no. 1 / Chanson pour cj / Déductions / Guidoue / Talk Loud Not Soft / Miniature no. 2 / Shanghai / You Do You /
Music Will Always Be Your Friend / Miniature no. 3

Rémi-Jean LeBlanc, bass
Nir Felder
, guitar
Rafael Zaldivar
, piano
Samuel Joly
, drums

To see our video of Guidoue filmed at the Montreal Jazz Fest, it's here

Want to buy it ? iTunes, Spotify, MusicMe

Rémi-Jean LeBlanc on FB, it's here

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

 Alex Francoeur Group - Missing Element / Live at Upstairs

July 12, 2018

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 :

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

 Urban Science Brass Band - Live and Raw Vol 1.

June 21, 2018

Now here's a real nice summertime treat. Most festival-goers, especially those of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal have probably experienced and danced to the groovin' sounds of the Urban Science Brass Band. Going back to the roots of jazz, as well as to the bandas (marching bands) from Spain and the South of France this happy bunch of a dozen or so musicians and dancers led by saxophonist Vincent Stephen-Ong, plus 2 singers/MCs, supported by some electronic grooves, know their thing and do it like noboby's business.

They've done some magic by giving a new and fresh sound to something from the past, even if the sound from the live January 1st Lion d'Or recording isn't top studio quality, but don't let that keep you from having a good time listening to this music. Summer's just in with parties and BBQs, have a drink, but not too much, and get down and dance!!! It's all good and musically this partyfull band get it on. If you liked Zebda's Tomber La Chemise, The Next Episode should bring back some souvenirs, just like with Feels So Good which has nothing to do with Chuck Mangione's tune. On the same thread, check out the very funky No Problem, as well as the revisited Rapper’s Delight, a real party tune.

This new release is right on and opens the festivals season with a smile!

Hear them everyday at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal June 28th to July 7th @ 5pm in a parade mode, departure at the corner of Sainte-Catherine & Saint-Urbain.

Intro / Humble / Rappers Delight / No Problem / Get Ur Freak On / Bad and Boujee / The Message / Feels So Good
Alright / Crazy in Love / Pass the Courvoisier / The Next Episode / Apache

Urban Science Brass Band
Vincent Stephen-Ong (alto sax and bandleader)
K.O.F (MC)
Scynikal (MC)
Lex French (trumpet)
Andy King (trumpet)
Isaac Gesse (trumpet)
Christopher Vincent (trombone)
Julie Richard (sousaphone)
T-Cup (drums)
Anthony Pageot (drums)
Krypto (dance)
Abnormal (dance)
featuring : Don Mescal (hôte)

To see a video sample, it's here

For their Facebook page, it's here

For more info : Urban Science Brass Band

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

 Gilles Bernard Quartet - Fréquence 119

June 7, 2018

Jazz doesn't only happen in Montreal. Pianists and blowers are also doing it in Quebec City, such as all-around nice guy pianist Gilles Bernard. On this Fréquence 119, the blue note is powerful and creative with this together and efficient quartet. Surrounding Gilles we find bassist Pierre Côté, drummer Louis-Vincent Hamel and tenor saxophonist Thiago Ferté, a discovery for yours truly. Highlighting the work of these fine musicians, pianist Gilles Bernard has created a confortable space on five pieces, all equally inventive.

More than the art of the trio, this is a ménage à quatre statement, with a powerful saxophonist that reminds me in his approach of our friend André Leroux. At the heart of this new release, pianist Gilles Bernard who injects a lot of energy, with a multisensory approach that reminds me of Phineas Newborn as well as Jaki Byard. As it often is, the five tracks present a poetic and personal vision, creating a modern jazz sound.

Once again, great compositions and intensity.

Le Cambrigor / Insertions / Constance / Requiem pour Colette / Via

To listen to Le Cambrigor on YouTube, it's here

See them in a concert launch Thursday July 12th at Quebec City's Théâtre Petit Champlain, for more info, it's here

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

 Nouvelle R - Sénescence

May 24, 2018

What's the connection in between man and the planet? To this metaphorical question that's been asked before in jazz, such as with Sun Ra and his Arkestra, the Nouvelle R trio tries to bring answers. Never too spacy, but very interesting in regards to the form and its content, the trio lays down some powerful jazz that fits somewhere in between rock jazz and the blue note. Created 2015 by guitarist Sylvain St-Onge, electric bassist Carl Mayotte and drummer/percussionnist Olivier Bussières, Nouvelle R opened their horizons and shared their queries.

Without it being a completely new sound, we're reminded of John Abercrombie, Pat Metheney and Stanley Jordan, the compositions should appeal to a large public, without falling in the trappings of industrial sounds. In this case it's better to talk about textures, atmospheres and ambiances, supported by the bass licks of Carl Mayotte, one of the key elements of this new release. Even if we hear a bit too much of a studio sound, all of it is very fascinating. In regards to this trio that beckons the poet in all of us to imagine a better world, let's add that Le Pourquoi Du Comment, Alchimie Anamorphique and À Qui De Droit are well worth the detour.

Alchimie Anamorphique / Sendionek Mastro / Absence / Asthénie / Fugitifs / À Qui De Droit / Le Pourquoi Du Comment / Nostalgie d’Été / Conjoncture Post - Apocalyptique

Nouvelle R
on Facebook, it's here

To listen to Sénescence, it's here

See them at the Montreal launch concert Wednesday May 30th 7:30pm at Upstairs.

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

 Les Royal Pickles - Jouer dans l’trafic

May 10, 2018

If you thought Dixieland was dead and gone, you're wrong! With this 2nd album which is anything but covers, the imposing Les Royal Pickles (what a cute name), opens up the summer season. Like the title says, Jouer dans l'trafic (playing in traffic) suggests we leave our tablets and other devices to stretch our legs and go out and dance. If the programmers of the Jazz Festival have a bit of flair, they should give a helping hand to this happenin' band that cultivates humor and swing.

Led by singer/violinist Mélisande Archambault, she's joined by five musicians and a plethora of guest instrumentalists. In the same musical family of the Fanfare Pourpour, Les Royal Pickles are poets of our daily lives with titles that bring a smile. From La femme à barbe to À contresens, and the very realistic Quand les nids de poules auront des dents to Février or Rhapsodie dans l'trafic, the music stands out just as much as the texts. Not only does the group get all the codes of Dixieland and/or New-Orleans, this happy tribe give us an album full of sunshine, invigorating and "trippy".

Février (Rhapsodie dans le trafic) / L'air d'un fou / Perdre le nord / Calcul d'itinéraire / Lévrier / La Somnambule / Une roue de secours / Quand les nids de poules auront des dents / Capharnaüm / Les bancs d'école / La femme à barbe / À contresens

Mélisande Archambault : voice, violin, choir, percussions
Alex Bouchard : trombone, tap dancing, choir
Christian Leclerc : tuba, bass drum, theremin, Jew's harp, percussions, choir
Louis Levesque : voice, banjo, mandolin
Jeffrey Moseley : electric guitar, lap steel, mandolin, resonator
Aurélien Tomasi : tenor & soprano sax, clarinet, choir, keyboards, percussions

Les Royal Pickles on Facebook, it's here

They'll be in concert Saturday May 19th 9:30pm at Val David's Baril Roulant.

For more info, to listen and buy Jouer dans l'trafic :

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

 Lisa Lorenzino Quartet - Evocação (featuring Carlos Jiménez)

April 26, 2018

As the sun and heat are making their way back in our lives and that we dream of terrasses and summer festivals, Evocação arrives spot on. In the Montreal music scene, the use of the flute as the premier instrument is rare, except for François Richard, so this is a treat.

Teacher at McGill University for the last nine years and originally from Edmonton, Lisa Lorenzino leads her jazz quartet as well as having created the Montreal Jazz Flute Summit with fellow musicians Frank Lozano, Jennifer Bell and Dave Gossage. On this album full of summer sounds and luminescence, we're in the universe of of brazilian music. Althought the genre is not as common as it could be in our northern climes, you'll hear references to Portugal, Brazil as well as familiar architectures by tenor sax Stan Getz as well as great brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. Without it being 100% typical bossa-nova, Lisa Lorenzino respects the codes with acuity. Even if the sound is not as defined as that of flutist François Richard, Lisa Lorenzino is quite skilled and has a perfect sense of rhythm that translates into a certain joie de vivre.

And to add to the band that includes bassist Fraser Hollins and drummer Greg Ritchie, she's joined by guitarist Carlos Jiménez (Gente Humilde, Palhaço, Mingus Samba, Constance, Cine Baronesa), and percussionist Aquiles Melo (Baião Blues, Mingus Samba, O Ovo, Brasileirinho) that bring a certain sound and special touch to Evocação.

Baião Blues / Gente Humilde / Samba Do Avião / Palhaço / Evocação / Mingus Samba / Anjinho / Constance / O Ovo / Cine Baronesa / Brasileirinho

Here's a video of Mingus Samba filmed at Biddle's Jr. Wednesday April 25th, here


For more info, to listen to and buy Evocação :

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

 Dominique Fils-Aimé - Nameless

April 12, 2018

Finalist of television show La Voix and part of the Pierre Lapointe's team, Montreal singer Dominique Fils-Aimé is having a nice success with the launch of Nameless. After two listens, we can predict she'll be around for a while, thanks to her soul-enriched voice, a far cry from pre-established formats. Dipping in the roots of afro-american music from the 60s and 70s, without trying to re-invent the genre, this young lady has a lot of potential. If you like Billie Holliday, the Staple Singers, the Supremes, all of those with a few helpings of modernism, that's what she does real nicely. What strikes at first, is the grain of her voice, powerful, sensual, and a modulation that gives a uniqueness to each composition, and of course, the spirit, or if you want : soul.

To convince you of the trueness of my enthousiastic writing, listen to Rise. Three minutes or so of happiness sung with simplicity and that little voice that will slowly get to you. Courageous as well, Dominique Fils-Aimé opens with Strange Fruit, THE track, if I could say. This hymn to struggle that gave singer Billie Holiday many problems, because she condemned lynching in hidden terms, the singer makes it her own while staying true to the message, direct and powerful. In closing she beckons the return of Nina Simone with the unavoidable Feeling Good. Then again, you can appreciate Dominique Fils-Aimé's intelligence singing the classic in a capella mode, that deconstructs the song a bit, without erasing the heart of the message.


Strange Fruit / Birds / Home / Sleepy / Nameless / Rise / Unstated / Feeling Good

For Rise, it's here

For the Nameless EPK, it's here

To listen and buy, & bandcamp

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

 Rémi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble - Sax Zenith : Live at the Yardbird Suite

March 29, 2018

It's hard not to love alto saxophonist Rémi Bolduc. Not only is he Associate Professor at McGill U's Schulich School of Music, he's presented many great projects in the past few years. One of them bringing us back in time revisiting famous tv scores from our childhood (Cote d'écoute), and, of course, his tributes to Oscar Peterson (Swingin' with Oscar) and Dave Brubeck.

This time around this mainstay of the Montreal/Quebec jazz scene heads an impressive line-up of star saxophonists. For this Sax Zenith recorded live at Edmonton's Yardbird Suite (his 10th album), he's surrouned himself with altist P.J. Perry, tenors Phil Dwyer, Kirk McDonald and Kelly Jefferson - as well as the steadfast Fraser Hollins on bass and Dave Laing on the drums - for a new release with lots of potential. This is a some hard-drivin' swing that brings us back to the golden era of the Blue Note label and sound. Etched on a canvas of seven original compositions, it sounds like Rémi Bolduc and his friends are having the time of their lives. Played in a free spirit without it being free jazz and where all stand out for more than a simple chorus, the band's drive is a brand of swing that'll please many. You don't have to be a jazz specialist to appreciate today's jazz sounds, such as in The Mentor, Someone in Love and the very beautiful Sax Zenith.

Hope a Jazz Festival picks them up this summer, but in the meantime, the Rémi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble presents Swingin' with Oscar at Beloeil's Centre culturel Friday June 15th, for more info, it's here

Someone in Love / Clavardage / The Mentor / Salsa Saxophono / Sax Zenith / Things You Usual-Lee Are / The Revellers

To listen and buy, and cdbaby

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

 Ensemble Gaudreault Turgeon - Jonctions

March 15, 2018

I feel spoiled these days. After flutist François Richard's magnificent album, the duo of guitarist Samuel Gaudreault and pianist Jonathan Turgeon do their thing with the release of Jonctions. In many of my last CDJazz articles I've often mentionned the lack of swing, the abstractness of some very intelligent compositions that sometimes sound too academic, well this is not the case. These two young musicians know their jazz history well, and you'll discover music that stands in between the Jazz Messengers and the Modern Jazz Quartet.

Let's start with the opening track : La maison de verre. The message gets thru, the band is united and congrats to very smooth bassist Alex Le Blanc that tells a story. Let's talk about guitarist Samuel Gaudreault. I'm sure our friend has listened to Jim Hall a few times as well as Joe Pass, another giant. In Novembre, he very gently introduces the theme and then connects with the other band members. Throughout the tracks you'll hear trumpet players Lex French and Christopher Kerr-Barr, saxophonist Alex Dodier, the finesse of drummer Eric Maillet, and let's not forget pianist Jonathan Turgeon, probably one of the most brilliant pianists of the younger generation. As always, no standards, but no complaints because we discover these finely crafted compositions : La forge, On verra, or L’homme plante. Bravo.

La maison de verre / Novembre / Truyard pt.1 / Truyard pt.2 / L'homme plante / Pièce à géométrie variable / La forge / On verra /

Compositions : Samuel Gaudreault and Jonathan Turgeon

To listen and buy, and iTunes

Jonctions will be launched in Québec, Wed March 28th @ 5pm, at the District St-Joseph, for the Facebook event, it's here

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

 François Richard Quartet - Libération

March 1, 2018

In the world of jazz, very few have chosen to play the flute. A discreet but brilliant musician, François Richard is a well-kept secret. Daring improviser, sometimes adventurous composer, but with a sense of something well done and with exploration, such as this new opus. Like it often is, Libération's tracks are all François's compositions, and the word that comes to mind is swing. Because winter's still on althought we're in the middle of a milder spell, check out Winter Blues. Now that's what I call jazz - with a powerful rhythm that highlights young pianist Guillaume Martineau, Rémi-Jean LeBlanc's metronomic bass and Martin Auguste's driving beats.

At the heart of this winter blues, François Richard gets into some nice phrasing that sometimes recall Yussef Latteef and Frank Wess. Smart like a fox and a true artisan of the blue note, he forges his compositions like an artist. The key changes and the finesse of the structure when playing on the alto flute or the ones in C and G is something all students should listen to. Within the Quartet everybody is free to express himself, to bounce off of each other as your ears can witness on Dark Waltz, Libération, and De 7 à 8. It's probably one of the most beautiful albums of the season.

Ponctuation / Winter Blues / Libération / Une Tempête / De 7 à 8 / Dark Waltz / La Bossa à Casa Nova / Balade 2017

To listen and buy on iTunes, it's here

For more info,

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

 Suzi Silva - Fad'Azz

February 15, 2018

It's the time of the year when we need that sunshine, so the timing is right on for the warmth of the fado combined with jazz. For a surprise, this is quite the surprise. I didn't know young singer Suzi Silva, and this Fad’Azz will certainly help you go thru the rest of the winter. The first thing that struck me was her voice. Deep with a lot of range and the perfect dose of tenderness that will sway you with rhythms from the european continent as well as from South America. For once all the tracks make perfect sense and the first one, Fado Mestiço - Amanhã sets the mood for the rest of the album.

To the inherent swing, you can add to that the exceptional quality of the musicians surrounding the young lady, starting with the accordionist Sergiu Popa. In the same vein as the great Richard Galliano, his playing is supple with just the right touch of lightness that gives wings to the texts of the fado, which, btw, isn't always sad. Among her other musical friends, let's mention the great bow playing of bassist Olivier Babaz and the rock touch of guitarist Ivan Garzon that sometimes bring us back to Carlos Santana (O Meu Amor). Pianist Yannick Anctil plays a lot more that a simple accompaniment, and let's not forget Bruno Roy at the drums/percussions, Liberto Medeiros on the portuguese guitar and Paulo Bottas at the piano on some tracks. A well-established montrealer, Suzi Silva offers to Montrealers a beautiful poet, partly sung, partly spoken (Chanson pour une Ville) which is an invitation to redicover our streets...once the snow's gone!

Fado Mestiço - Amanhã / Ce coeur que je Garde - Fado Menor / Fado Tango Afro-Cubano / O Meu Amor Não Gosta de Fado
Chanson pour une Ville / Fleurs Silencieuses / Acreditar

To see the video of Fado Mestiço - Amanhã, it's here

To listen and buy :

For more info,

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

 Quatuor André Lachance - The Orange Challenge

February 1, 2018

Over the last few months we haven't covered many guitarists, so let's do it. From Vancouver, but originally from Lévis, I discover André Lachance, an artist of the 6-string instrument . The Orange Challenge is some fusion-rich jazz, clearly inspired by the experiences of the great Pat Metheney. Centered around some easy-listening rhythms that aren't simple André Lachance stands strong with a clear talent for uncluttered melodic lines, and is in complete symbiosis with his collegues. Of course tons of improvisations, sometimes in a closed musical space - you can feel the finely crafted compositions - The Orange Challenge requires some attentive listening.

Marking time, drummer Joe Poole smartly supports keyboardist/pianist Brad Turner and Chris Gestrin’s Moog bass, the sum of it all can sometimes bring us back to Genesis-like sounds. On nine tracks that each carry a different musical space, always influenced by the guitarist, althought Claude - a tribute to departed drummer Claude Ranger - does not recall Pat Metheny but rather John McLaughlin's Electric Guitarist. Althought The Orange Challenge has many many qualities, I'm still looking for that little special something that will make you go wow. Having a great musical technique is one thing but making the heart pound is another.

Solstice / El Gecko's Dilemma / Pavane / Claude / Life Cycle / The Orange Challenge / Vert / Critter Wonderland / Saint-Laurent

To listen and buy :

For more info,

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

 Min Rager - Train of Thought

January 18, 2018

I admit not knowing pianist Min Rager as much as her husband Josh Rager. As it's never too late to do things right, I've been listening to this new release for the last week and it's real treat. If you're into some smart high energy jazz with no down time and well driven, this is it. On eight tracks and as always with original compositions, the young player deftly weaves a fabric of blue notes taking in the past as well as the present.

But there's more. Even if Min Rager opens up Train Of Thought with power and unexpected intricaties, let's hightlight the work of tenor saxophonist Kenji Omae, as well as bassist Fraser Hollins and drummer Dave Laing. Listening to track 3, I Never Felt This Way, a very beautiful duo with the saxophonist, it made me think of the Kenny Barron/Stan Getz duo. Even if the saxophonist plays with a bit more gusto than Stan, Min's articulate and sensitive approach reminded me of Kenny Barron.

Talking about swing, you'll hear a lot of this new release. For example with Let’s Be Cool, a little jewel where the pianist expresses her love of the blues, a little bit like Duke Jordan or Bobby Timmons, while in Say What You Mean, she elegantly unfurls swing going back to Jess Stacy and Count Basie. With these cold days where you might want to hang out by the fireplace, three beautiful ballads await you. You've guessed it, we like this album so congrats to the brilliant pianist.

Train of Thought / Beautiful Journey / I Never Felt This Way / Say What You Mean / Dedicated to you / I Wish I Was There / Moonlight Dance / Let's Be Cool

To listen and buy :

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

 Annie Dominique Quintet - Rue Langevin

January 4, 2018

Tenor saxophonist and sometimes bass clarinettist, jazz woman Annie Dominique has a unique brand of jazz tinged in Montreal poetry. After a first 2015 album named Tout autour, she now releases Rue Langevin, surrounded by a solid team of young wolves. For this quintet she can count on the support of trombonist Jean-Nicolas Trottier, pianist Jonathan Cayer, bassist Sébastien Pellerin and drummer Alain Bourgeois. With this very trippy new release this women's voice takes her space on the Montreal jazz scene and is a beacon of hope.

Annie Dominique's very original compositions carry a poetic language that can sometimes brings to mind departed tenor saxman Michael Brecker. Brilliantly cultivating the art of the ensemble, she expresses a music without it being dissonant or academic. All throughout the tracks the poets and travellers that we are acclimatize our listening to the different harmonies that transpire from Rue Langevin, such as title track Rue Langevin, Unami and Cinquième dimension. There's depth here, as well as forward thinking with the Yosémite suite, for example. Sit down and get into some attentive and focused listening. Nice album so let's support it.

Rue Langevin / Cinquième dimension / Yosemite, Pt. 1 / Yosemite, Pt. 2 / Yosemite, Pt. 3 / Yosemite, Pt. 4 / Light Touch / Quelque part sur Mars / Umami

She'll be in concert Friday January 30th 9pm at the Casa del Popolo part of the Multiple Chord Music HIEMS Festival 2018

To listen and buy :

For more info,

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

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