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Christophe writes in french and the texts are translated by Claude Thibault.
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 Alex Bellegarde Trio - Floating

December 11, 2014

"Floating" is a tasty new release by bassist Alex Bellegarde to be savoured with much pleasure. Great recording that will create lots of ohs and ahs. Instigator and tireless coordonator of the Tuesday night jam sessions since 2000, at Nyk's from 2002 to 2008 and since then at the Dièse Onze as well as many recordings and participation in many other groups, bassist Alex Bellegarde resonates the strings of the mythic instrument with a lot of energy and drive.

With lots of space for his collegues Jérôme Beaulieu (piano), Martin Auguste (drums), Samuel Blais (sax) and Hichem Khalfa (trumpet), here's some consistant jazz with lots of drive.  A healthy  explosion of blue notes to help forget the cold weather, fits nicely under the Xmas tree !

We took the opportunity to meet Alex Bellegarde and discuss jams, his CD, the musicians he plays with and more, to see the interview in french, click here

www.alexbellegarde.com

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


 Tevet Sela - Lying Sun

November 27, 2014

Tevet Sela is a recently arrived jazz musician that brings some vitality to the Quebec jazz scene. Since his arrival in 2010, the sound of israeli alto sax is in the modern current, obviously inspired by master Lee Konitz. Lying Sun can be defined as cool jazz, without the ascetism, nice tracks to listen to.

For this adventure, three solid musicians : Morgan Moore on bass, John Roney at the piano and Martin Auguste at the drums, on nine original compositions. A nice alto sound to be savoured slowly, with a precision that sides the quality of his compositions.

To see the video of Genie Is Out, click here


www.tevetsela.com

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


 Félix Stüssi - Arrabbiata

November 13, 2014

No only is he an excellent pianist, but  Félix Stüssi likes to cook up some hot jazz, figuratively...With Arrabbiata, which is also the name of some spicy italian sauce, he welcomes us to a happy banquet and some great musicians. Surrounding the man of the hour, bassist Clinton Rider, drummer Isaiah Ceccarelli, alto and soprano saxophonist Alexandre Côté, tenor and soprano saxophonist Bruno Lamarche and a very special guest, american trombonist Ray Anderson.

Lots of power of course, but also some creative intelligence, that danse to accomplished arrangements : Hip Limp, Blues Malcommodes, Arrabbitata, of course, and Nébuleuse.

A beautiful release that help us forget the grey fall weather. Bravo !

www.felixstussi.com

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


 Michel Morissette - Nothing Toulouse - 2014 #1 CDJazz

October 30, 2014

I don't know guitarist Michel Morissette that much, and I admit, I should've paid more attention to his career. What a surprise when I stuck the CD in my player, wow these guys are cookin', even if it's not your "classic" kind of jazz, a somewhat rock sound and quite a talent for improvisation.

With opening track Nothing Toulouse, his fast-paced, crazy riffs makes for some exciting guitar playing, as always, supported by saxophonist André Leroux giving it all he's got. On the CD, sample some tenderness on Le chant and interesting riffs on Impulsions.

A great CD and a great band : André Leroux, tenor sax, Gaétan Daigneault, piano/rhodes, Jean Cyr, bass, and Alain Boyer at the drums.

To see a video of Nothing Toulouse, click here

www.michelmorissette.ca/


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


 Sonia Johnson - Le cœur à l’endroit - 2014 #2 CDJazz

October 16, 2014

2012 Juno winner for Le carré de nos amours, singer/songwriter/composer Sonia Johnson is back with Le cœur à l’endroit, for our greatest pleasure. The music of this consistent new release on the boundaries of jazz has two things going for it, one that's it's jazz with strong texts, the other being that's it's great music to listen to in a mellow space joined with a great rhythm section : Marianne Trudel, piano, Rémi-Jean LeBlanc, bass/doublebass, Jim Doxas at the drums and friends that joined in such as André Leroux, Jonathan Stewart, etc.

Joining all this talent let's also mention the importance of the texts and collaborators : Combien d’automnes (Marianne Trudel), Si j’avais (Sonia Johnson, Nathalie Baroud),  Rue Liverpool (Stanley Péan /Anthony Rosankovic), Je rêve (Claude André/Mario Peluso) and of course, Sonia Johnson's voice, soft, captivating and touching. A great and tightly-knit CD.

To see a excerpt of Elle Court, click here

To see Toi, mon amour, Oct. 9th at L'OFF Jazz, click here

www.soniajohnson.com

(photo : Pascale Therien)


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


 Jacques Kuba Séguin ODD Lot - L’élévation du point de chute - 2014 #3 CDJazz

October 2, 2014

Hard not to really like this last album by trumpeter and composer Jacques Kuba Séguin. At the last Montreal Jazz Fest, moments of grace and depth with Jacques' Litania Project with string section, a true voyage of jazz and music of the world, like this new opus, incandescent. The poetic title recalls Albert Camus, and the man forges ahead with Jean-Pierre Zanella and André Leroux, saxophones, Jonathan Cayer, piano, Frédéric Alarie, bass and Kevin Warren at the drums.

The essence du jazz with some great Hubbard/Brown voicings, but also some jazz funk, and a jazz  tandem with writer and host Stanley Péan, a few hits of blues. Great CD.

Jacques Kuba Séguin, trumpet and compositions
Jean-Pierre Zanella, sax
André Leroux, sax
Jonathan Cayer, keyboard
Frédéric Alarie, bass
Kevin Warren, drums
Stanley Péan, texts

jacqueskubaseguin.com


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


 Jean-Nicolas Trottier 10tet - Blue Lines

September 18, 2014

A week before the first fall concert of L’orchestre national de jazz de Montréal, Sept. 12th - Jean-Nicolas Trottier was its guest bandleader - he lanched his "first major opus" : Blue Lines, at the Résonance Sept. 5th, 2014.

Like always and like many great other albums, eight original compositions with 10 swingin' musicians, great writing, solid and dense, a good example of modernism, without it being free jazz.

A tight machine with high octane energy, like a racing machine. Featured compositions : Mes Deux Femmes, Influenza Suite Part 1 et Influenza Suite Part 2 and of course Blue Lines.

Christian Morissette, trpt, flg
Davd Carbonneau, trpt, flg
Jean-Nicolas Trottier, tbn
Samuel Blais, alto sax, clrnt
Annie Dominique, ten sax, flt, clrnt
Jean-François Ouellet, baritone sax, flt
Carlos Jiménez, guitar
Jonathan Cayer, piano
Sébasten Pellerin, bass
Kevin Warren, drums

Great work!

http://jntrottier.bandcamp.com/


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


 Anne Bisson - Tales From The Treetops

September 4, 2014

With Tales From The Treetops, singer, pianist, composer and TV actor Anne Bisson follows her musical path, in another life. To be in tune with the times, this new release is on the good ol' 180 grams LP format, as well as on CD and of course, iTunes. Jazz it is of course, but a bit more as all the tracks are original compositions, no standards, and two great sidemen : Paul Brochu on drums and Normand Guilbeault on bass as well as two guests : Soprano Suzie Leblanc and bassist  Frédéric Alarie.

To be fair, let's call this new release ambiance jazz (nothing derogatory here) with, at the heart of it, poetry, nature, myths and princes. Beautiful work with soul.

www.annebisson.com


Christophe Rodriguez


 5 for Trio - Witness & Reactions

August 21, 2014

There's some good people on this composite CD from 5 For Trio, and right off the bat it reminds us of certain guitarist Pat Metheny musical adventures, but with a big plus!

First there's the album cover, slightly vintage, and then there's the band : Sylvain St-Onge (guitar/voice), Mathieu Rancourt (electric bass) and Jean-François Gingras (drums/percussions/voice), and their 5 bandmates, all previously unknown to me.  A brand of aerial jazz that ranges from "light" to "abrasive", with some hispanic influences,  a bass player with a modernist style. In short, nice work, worth a quiet sit-down, listening moment.

For jazz, and music lovers, of course.

5fortrio.com

Christophe Rodriguez


 Parc-X Trio - PXT Live In NYC

August 7, 2014

This young trio has come a long way. From a relatively acoustic brand of jazz, this very creative trio is now playing some heavy duty jazz with some Fender Rhodes and simple sound effects which gives their music an added touch,  makes for some great Montreal jazz. 

In the PXT Live In NYC, without applause (too bad), Gabriel Vinuela-Pelletier, Fender Rhodes, Alex Lefaivre, bass and Alain Bourgeois at the drums explore the meanders of a modern, strong and accessible brand of jazz, and to add to that, for those who like something that's out-of-the-box, but just a little bit. Of course we love the ambitious Russian Spy, Body and Soul as well as En retour. Pump up your summer listening with PXT Live In NYC and let's hope we can hear them soon in concert.

Gabriel Vinuela-Pelletier, keyboards
Alex Lefaivre, bass
Alain Bourgeois, drums

See "The Russian Spy" by clicking here

To find out more, click here


Christophe Rodriguez


 Rubedo'Ro

July 24, 2014

Rubedo’Ro, created by singer/percussionnist Géraldine Eguiluz is a lot of things but not really jazz. Vocal expressionism, invented languages, with some theatrical aspects, but who's to say what is what ?. After two listens, even with these great musicians playing, this brand of music is to be experienced live as opposed to the recorded version.

It's not easy to get the sense of this expanded vision of music that might sound like certain post-industrial productions with a musical guideline that's sometimes hard to follow.

Géraldine Eguiluz, voice and compositions
Marie-Lys Trudel, voice and violin
Julie Babaz, alto violin
Sheila Hannigan, cello
Stéphane Diamantakiou, doublebass

to find out more : http://www.geraldineeguiluz.com/projets.html


Christophe Rodriguez


 Mehdi Nabti Pulsar 4 - Temps Composés

July 10, 2014

Let's look into something that's not your typical jazz and try out some highly merged brand of world jazz with Temps Composés. Because we can't know all the groups and musicians, it was a nice surprise for me to discover this group and his leader, alto sax player and singer Mehdi Nabti.

In between the Middle Eastern sounds, a dash of rock supported by singing in that vein of music, so much I could hear the universe of oudist Rabih Abou-Khalil.  If Mehdi and his bandmates are in your neighborhood, take a break from your regular music and why not take a muscal voyage with them.

Mehdi Nabti - alto sax, clave, voice
Nicolas Lafortune - bass
Phyras Haddad - percussions
Lionel Kizaba - drums

to find out more : mehdinabti.bandcamp.com


Christophe Rodriguez


 Ranee Lee - What Is Going On

June 26, 2014

Ranee Lee is one of the great jazz singers and most probably a hidden gem ! Part of so many festivals, and a intrinsic part of Montreal's historic jazz scene, Ranee Lee releases, just in time for the Montreal Jazz Fest, What Is Going On, where the Birds On A Wire String Quartet side a groovy rhythm section. It's classy, well done and with a nice surprise, her take on Marvin Gaye's What’s Going On and many beautiful standards such as A Song For You, Lazy Afternoon and three ravishing compositions by the singer herself.

For those who'd like to discover jazz, it's all there with passion and sobriety.

Richard Ring, guitar
Taurey Butler, piano
Chad Lindsey, piano
Chet Doxas, tenor sax
Morgan Moore, bass
Dave Watts, bass
Dave Laing, drums
Birds on A Wire String Quartet

See "I've Got The Whole World On A String" with the ONJ by clicking here and you'll get the idea!

She was in concert two times at the 2014 Montreal Jazz Fest :

Ranee Lee Quintet with the Birds on A Wire String Quartet and special guests such as harmonicist Guy Bélanger, June 26. With Oliver Jones and his friends for his 80th birthday, July 5th.
montrealjazzfest.com


Christophe Rodriguez


 Olivier Babaz Trio - Virages

June 12, 2014

Fine bassist and a Montreal jazz club regular, Olivier Babaz adds the kalimba to the instruments that he already plays. With guitarist François Jalbert and drummer Mark Nelson, Virages boasts eleven original tracks full of sobriety and poetry. At the time of the year where the sun is sending us more and more energy, Virages is in a jazz mode, but it's more than that.

Each track is like a short story, never broodful, and will help you dream a little bit while you enjoy his own brand of funk grooves, nu-fusion, so why not indulge a bit ? A new kind of jazz by a bassist that likes to think, playing swing that works with other musical currants.

to find out more : olivierbabaz.com

Christophe Rodriguez


 Roddy Ellias Trio - Monday's Dream

May 29, 2014

Here's a nice discovery. A artist I didn't know, Ottawa guitarist Roddy Ellias brings back souvenirs, such as the era of the trio :  Al Di Meola, John Mc Laughlin and departed Paco De Lucia. This is jazz of course but open your ears and mind to some spanish and sometimes oriental influences and a bit of rock, and it all sticks together really well.

With bassist Adrian Vedady and drummer Thom Gossage, Monday’s Dream is like a collection of weightless "thoughts". Listen to it real slowly because it's all there with guitar work that reminds me of Paco Ibanez. And ideal trio for the late night "Jazz dans la nuit" series at the Montreal Jazz Fest. Just a thought...you never know...

for more info : roddyellias.com

Christophe Rodriguez

Editor's Note (Claude Thibault) : I discovered this guitarist in the 70s at the U of Ottawa's cafe The Wasteland with "St-Thomas" Sonny Rollins. Souvenirs.


 Vincent Gagnon - Tome III - Errances

May 15, 2014

Here's a new release that won't go unnoticed. Young pianist Vincent Gagnon pursues his musical path with unwavering devotion on Tome III, consistant and always inspired. Here again, no standards - might as well get used to it, six very personal and poetic compositions, and a nod to great Québec singer-songwriter pianist Claude Léveillée with one of his compositions : Le temps d’une chanson.

A CD with a lot of muscle, powerful and sometimes intense in Sextet with :  Alain Boies, alto and soprano sax, Michel Côté, tenor sax, Guillaume Bouchard, bass, Michel Lambert at the drums, and of course, Vincent Gagnon, pianist and musical director.

A voyage of ease, precision and intensity : Asuncion, Ce qu’il reste de la nuit, Batique Karma and Parfois l’aube. Listen to this quietly and fleeting moments of a dreamlike state emerge from his music.


to find out more : vincentgagnon.com

Christophe Rodriguez


 Trio André Cayer - Vibraphone Saut Smooth

May 1, 2014

In the Québec jazz world, vibe players are far and few. André Cayer is from Sherbrooke where he's Assistant Teacher at the Université de Sherbrooke. In this CD, he gives us to a real treat for the ears, with a sound closer to Gray Burton than Lionel Hampton.

Supported by percussionnist Ziya Tabassian and bassist Hughes-O. Blouin, discover a unique brand of world music supported by some powerful writing, on seven tracks (too bad, a standard would've been nice). Interaction, creative bass, in short, a tight trio that'll heading somewhere.

André Cayer, vibes
Hugues-O. Blouin, bass
Ziya Tabassian, percussionnist


to find out more : andrecayer.com

Christophe Rodriguez


 Benjamin Deschamps Quartet - What do we know

April 17, 2014

Last Sept. 2013, at the Festi Jazz International de Rimouski, I was on a Jury that awarded that event's Grand Prix to Benjamin Deschamps. A year or so later, here's a CD by young saxophonist Benjamin Deschamps and his original quartet. Eight well-written and original tracks that have their own sound.

This altist is influenced by Cannonball Adderley and Dave Turner, who could ask for anything more ? Solid material for your soul : Futur imparfait and on track 4 - Cauchemar Cyclique, with special guest, saxophonist Frank Lozano.
Bravo!

Benjamin Deschamps, sax and compositions
Charles Trudel, piano
Sébastien Pellerin, bass
Alain Bourgeois, drums

To see les yeux fermés at the launch of What do we know at the Bleury - Bar à Vinyle, click here

for more info : benjamindeschamps.com

Christophe Rodriguez


 Mike Rud - Notes on Montréal

April 3, 2014

What a coincidence, we were planning on reviewing Mike Rud's Notes on Montréal, and he wins a Juno in the Vocal jazz album of the year category, in collaboration with singer Sienna Dahlen, so, here goes.

Some great 100% Montréal jazz which is like a poetic calling card for Oscar, Vic, Oliver and texan Roger Walls, a longtime montrealer by adoption.

Fourteen tracks : Parc La Fontaine, The Writer, Lapointe’s Beat, Smoked Meat and the Main and many more, featuring Sienna Dahlen's fine voice, sometimes sided by a string quartet, with Mike Rud, on guitar, as well as Chad Lindsey, piano, Adrian Vedady, bass, Dave Laing, drums, and Willy Rios at the charango on The Writer.

After several plays we understand this well-deserved Juno.

for more info : notesonmontreal.com

Christophe Rodriguez


 Janis Steprans Quartet - La petite forêt enchantée - 2014 #4 CDJazz

March 20, 2014

An oasis of coolness, a breath of fresh air in these difficult Quebec election times, so let's take a "cosmic" trip with alto saxophonist Janis Steprans.  A splendid sound, grounded, not esoteric at all, great personal compositions and three standards : Here’s That Rainy Day, My Melancholy Baby, Stardust, the last being the best as far as playing.

60 minutes of happiness with the great André White, drums, Adrian Vedady, bass and Kenny Bibace, guitar.

To see "Not From Concentrate", click here

for more info : janissteprans.com

Christophe Rodriguez


 Carlos Jimenez - Jogo

March 6, 2014

Although I don't know guitarist Carlos Jimenez that well, this sunny new release that flirts with some of the classic jazz  standards, is a delightful CD, the only thing missing is a concert to hear the man. With bassist Fraser Hollins and drummer Richard Irwin, he give us the chops that all good guitarists should know, without exageration.

Jobim of of course with Luiza,  rendered with infinite softness, a unknown Thelonious Monk : Eronel, a Steve Swallow on the way (!) : Falling Grace,  Jogo Harmonico, a very personal and precious composition, like it should be. Nice work to listened to slowly and with a lot of time.

To see "I'll Remember April", click here

for more info : carlosjimenezmusic.com

Christophe Rodriguez


 Caroline Nadeau - Chansons pour durer toujours

February 20, 2014

This album's title means "songs that last forever" and is aptly named, as the focus here are francophone classics, that you might've already whistled a few times. With a lot of tenderness, and an ongoing love affair for songs that are equally jazz, jazz vocalist Caroline Nadeau revisits with a lot of class, a part of our cultural heritage.

For these tracks : Les choses inutiles, Lucky, Lucky, Quelle belle vie or Je veux tout, the singer is surrounded by top musicians : Bill Mahar (trumpet), Jean Boutin (tenor sax), Daniel Lacoste (guitar), John Sadowy (piano), Karl Surprenant (bass), Joanna Peters (percussions), and Jim Doxas (drums).

Nice arrangements and a sense that these "songs that last forever" will be around for a quite a while.

To find out more : carolinenadeau.com

Christophe Rodriguez


 Joe Sullivan Quintet - Whiskey Jack Waltz

February 6, 2014

Whiskey Jack Waltz is a new release played with finesse and subtlety, led by discreet trumpeter Joe Sullivan. It's also the meeting of longtime friends and musicians : Lorne Lofsky, guitar, André White, piano, Alec Walkington, bass and Dave Laing, drums, that continue to spread and propagate the notes of 100% montreal jazz.

If you knew Joe Sullivan as one of Vic Vogel's trumpet players or at the the head of the Joe Sullivan Big Band, this shrunk down version give the soloist - that evolves nicely in bop or hard-bop - plenty or air time, weaving original compositions, and stylistically close to the bugle of departed Art Farmer. A thinking man's jazz that should be enjoyed like a good glass of porto, high caliber jazz considering the quality of his friends/soloists/sidemen.

To find out more : joesullivan.ca

Christophe Rodriguez


 Yvan Belleau – Mix-cités - 2014 #5 CDJazz

January 23, 2014

This is great, a CD that'll help you deal with the winter blahs and cold weather. Great sax player and top clarinetist Yvan Belleau, pays tribute with Mix-cités to percussionnist Eval Manigat, "father of Quebec world music". Wow, this is high energy, funky and fast-driving with some muscle players such as Jocelyn Couture/Maxime St-Pierre, trumpets, Jean Fréchette, baritone sax, pianists Julie Lamontagne and  Jean-François Groulx, Harold Faustin on guitar, Dan Gigon on bass and of course, our friend Yvan that does it right on.

Powerful and precise arrangements, musicians that give it all they got, and  even more from such a band. Take these guys to the next Montreal Jazz Fest and it's gonna get hot!

to see "Blues For Mandela" click here

to see "Simila" click here

For more info : yvanbelleau.bandcamp.com

Christophe Rodriguez


 Chet Doxas - Dive

January 9, 2014

Dive into the depth of jazz with this powerful project, a thinking man's jazz played my musicians that can take it on. For those who hang out at Upstairs, Dièse Onze, Résonance Café and so many festivals, tenor saxman Chet Doxas is a well-now figure. All-terrain player, fine connaisseur of the many styles and eras, his very personal way of playing is some of the best around, as witnesses this spring 2013 release.

On seven original tracks, the 2nd, Sing, being a composition of guitarist Matthew Stevens, this powerful jazz is also, a great showcase for the guitarist laids down some robust tenor sax playing, with a dash of "coltranian" influence, which doesn't hurt. More than just nice work, this is some inspiring jazz. With Zack Lober on bass and Eric Doob at the drums.

to find out more : www.chetdoxas.com

Christophe Rodriguez


 Misses Satchmo - Apple Tree

January 9, 2014

With Misses Satchmo, embodied by trumpeter/singer Lysandre Champagne, it's a plain as day, the simple pleasure of playing music is their modus operandi. This brand of jazz that emanates New-Orleans, marching bands, and that brought us Louis Armstrong, Sydney Bechet, Freddie Keppard as well as the enigmatic Buddy Bolden, is unpretentious and really swings.

Classics for all, even if you're not a jazz fan, a  certain way of paying tribute to the creators, a great octet on Apple Tree with, among others, Fred Pauze on bass, Yvan Belleau on the clarinet, Jean Sabourin at the sousaphone, light up by some very bright "Blues Skies" (the 11th track).
 
To see the title track "Apple Tree", click here

to find out more : www.missessatchmo.com

Christophe Rodriguez


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