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JazzBulletin   -   Thursday October 10 2019 to Thursday October 31 2019

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SJNPRO Bulletin

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Want Christophe Rodriguez to review your CD?

To submit your jazz CD for Christophe Rodriguez, please send us 2 copies of your CD and a press kit to :
3839, rue Berri
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

 L'Orchestre national de jazz de Montréal - The Mystic Mind

October 10, 2019

Even thought we recently lost beloved bandleader Vic Vogel, a mainstay of the Montreal / QC jazz scene, the world of Quebec big bands can count on L'Orchestre national de jazz de Montréal, made up in large part by many members of the Vic Vogel's Big Band.  Conducted by trombonist and composer Jean-Nicolas Trottier, you'll be able to check them Saturday October 12th at L'Astral (L'OFF Jazz closing concert) as well as on this album. Dedicated to the departed bandleader, The Mystic Mind is an ambitious work made up of beautiful portraits which are superb platforms for soloists Yannick Rieu (tenor sax), Rafael Zaldivar (piano) and Sylvain Provost (guitar).

In the spirit of what had done at a certain time brilliant bandleader Gil Evans on New Bottles Old Wine as well as Out of The Cool, composer Jean-Nicolas Trottier treats the three musicians to more than just simple solos. The improvisations are part of a fine and important writing endeavour. Althought the framework for which we are in awe is light, it's bliss when we hear the power of tenor sax Yannick Rieu, the gentleness of pianist Rafael Zaldivar and the aesthetic riffs of guitarist Sylvain Provost! In regards to the orchestra, Jean-Nicolas tranports us in a space/time of sophistiscated writing, rich in protein, like a long poem where jazz is alive. Vic Vogel would've been proud of his boys and of this great writer.

Forethought / Emotional Interference / Déjà-vu / Flow / Daydream / The Fascination Maze / Altered Recollection / Mindfulness / Phonological Loop

Jean-Nicolas Trottier, direction & composition
Yannick Rieu, saxophones
Rafael Zaldivar, piano
Sylvain Provost, guitar
Jean-Pierre Zanella, Samuel Blais, André Leroux, Frank Lozano, Alexandre Côté : woods
Jocelyn Couture, Aron Doyle, Lex French, David Carbonneau, Bill Mahar : trumpets
David Grott, Taylor Donaldson, David Martin, Bob Ellis : trombones
Rémi-Jean LeBlanc, bass
Kevin Warren, drums

L'ONJM on Facebook

L'OFF Jazz on Facebook

The Facebook event

For the EPK video, it's here

For tickets, it's here

L'Orchestre national de jazz de Montréal (ONJM) launchesThe Mystic Mind

L'OFF Jazz closing concert - Saturday Oct. 12th 8pm
305 Ste-Catherine W   
Christophe Rodriguez (

Joel Miller - Unstoppable

September 26, 2019

Thursday October 3rd at the Gesù, tenor/soprano saxophonist Joel Miller turns on the 20th OFF Jazz with an opus that could be described as monumental. With the help of 19 musicians directed by Joel under watchful baton of conductor Christine Jensen, he presents his new album Unstoppable. In the lineage of orchestral works, such as what had done trumpetter Don Ellis (Turkish Bath) at a certain time, Joel Miller treats us to a surprising and original concept. On fourteen well-orchestrated tracks that require some focused listening, enter into a realm of diverse influences, including rock, as well as hints of classical swing such as on Dance Of The Nude Fishes. For one track to the next let yourself be immersed into his timeless music.

I've got the distinct impression that Joel Miller wanted to sum up years of compositions and learning into one palpable project, like for example on tracks 11 thru 14 (Dearhead Hoof 1 to 4), with brass sounds & acid rock riffs, a long suite driven by a powerful orchestra. Going back to conductor/trumpeter Don Ellis mentionned earlier, this new release also evokes the aestheticism of under-estimated pianist, drummer, composer and arranger Georges Russel. You'll discover Unstoppable a lot of modernism in the arrangements, a quest for freedom, and a few discontinuous rhythms. In this clever disorder, Joel Miller's work is spot on, as well as Christine Jensen's conducting. 

Song Story 1. Gyre / Song Story 2. A Party / Song Story 3. Change Of Senery / What You Can't Stop Part - 1 / What You Can't Stop Part - 2 / What You Can't Stop Part - 3 / What You Can't Stop Part - 4 / What You Can't Stop Part - 5 / What You Can't Stop Part - 6 / Dance Of The Nude Fishes / Dearhead Hoof - 1. Intro / Dearhead Hoof - 2. Pachamama / Dearhead Hoof - 3 / Dearhead Hoof - 4. Finale

Joel Miller - tenor / soprano saxophones
Christine Jensen - guest conductor
Billy Kerr, Nadia Sparrow - flutes
Mark Simmons, Luc Jackman, Jennifer Bell - clarinets
Bruno Lamarche - tenor saxophone / clarinet
Jocelyn Veilleux - french horn
Lex French, Bill Mahar - trumpet
Dave Grott - trombone
David Ryshpan - piano
Steve Raegele - guitar
Sacha Daoud, Erin Donovan, Kullak Viger Rojas - percussions
Kevin Warren - drums
Fraser Hollins - bass

the event on facebook

Thursday October 3rd 8pm
L’OFF Jazz at the Gesù
1200 Bleury   
Christophe Rodriguez (

 Carl Mayotte - Fantosme

September 12, 2019

Let's go back a bit in time with a fan of Alain Caron and the fusion era of the 70s. I didn't know bassist Carl Mayotte so it was a real pleasure to unravel this new release, with some very high caliber musicians that can rock. Coproduced by outstanding guitarist Michel Cusson, the sounds on Fantosme remind me of Uzeb, of course, as well as Chick Corea and Weather Report. And as I listen to it more and more, sounds from the Stax period.

And to make up those sounds, here's the ingredients : some hard-working horn blowers including saxophonists Jean-Pierre Zanella, Damien Jade-Cyr, Patrice Luneau, trumpeter Rémi Cormier, trombonist Emmanuel Richard-Bordon, a percussionnist that knows his sticks, Luc Boivin, a keyboardist that knows the soul of the Moog ; Francis Grégoire, singer Raymonde Gagnier, guitarist Gabriel Cyr, drummer Stéphane Chamberland, and a bassist, Carl Mayotte, heading the whole thing. The connection of these great musicians in a fusion mode can only lead to some highly flammable tracks and album. With a lot of rhythms, avoiding repetition, Carl Mayotte and his collegues groove on with their great improvisations. With the judicious alchemy of just the right dosage of acoustic instruments and not-so-new technologies, the ten tracks that are offered, all composed by Carl (except Crépuscule by Gabriel Cyr & Marise with Janek Gwizdala), make yours truly quite happy, hoping it'll do the same for you.

Le Fantosme (partie 1 - Le Poltergeist / partie 2 - Le Polisson) / Grand Prix / O Commodoro / Crépuscule / Haynarket Square /
Smoky Chicks / La Cavalerie s'envole / Marise / Mirroir Hélicoïdal / Spiritus

To see a video live from the recording of Grand Prix, it's here

Fantosme Launches : Thursday Sept. 26 at Quebec City's District St-Joseph and Friday Sept. 27th at the Dièse Onze.
(Carl Mayotte, Damien Jade-Cyr, Gabriel Cyr, Francis Grégoire, Stéphane Chamberland and Saud)

Thursday Sept. 26th 8pm
District St-Joseph
240 St-Joseph East, QC

For the Facebook event, it's here

Friday Sept. 27th 6:30pm
Dièse Onze
4115A St-Denis, Mtl

For the Facebook event, it's here
Christophe Rodriguez (

 Carlos Jiménez Quintet - Don’t Fall

August 29, 2019

Just in time for back-to-school, guitarist Carlos Jiménez gives us a beautiful and electrifying lesson in swing. Reconnecting with the spirit of Jim Hall, Joe Pass and maybe a bit of Wes Montgomery, Don’t Fall has got all it takes to make a great concert. Recorded with finesse, highlighting the choruses of the musicians, one by one, the mood that transpires is that of a jazz club on a beautiful summer day. Knowing the musician and his taste for sharing amongst friends, because this is not just an album on and about the guitar, the complicity and connection between them is obvious.

Like Cannonball Adderley and Dave Turner a their best for which he's without a doubt a successor, alto saxophonist Alexandre Côté gives it all he's got. Having a conversation with the guitarist on Keep It Simple and Don’t Fall, the musician goes right at it.

Alongside the guitarist, you'll also find brilliant pianist Pierre François, bassist Dave Watts and drummer Dave Laing. As all the music was written by Carlos Jiménez, he chose companions that could explore, all together, superb melodic ideas of perfect balance.

In between the precision and masterfull ultra-fast tempos (East of The Village, Still Ringing), this new release leads us to believe that jazz is still alive and well. To hear it live, Don't Fall will be launched at the Dièse Onze Friday Sept. 6th, 6:30pm..

Keep It Simple / Don't Fall / The Fifth Element / Virgo / Still Ringing / The Process / Samba New Life / East Of The Village 

Carlos Jiménez Quintet - Don't Fall

Carlos Jiménez, guitar & compositions
Alexandre Côté, saxophone
Pierre François, piano
Dave Watts, bass
Dave Laing, drums

Launch :

Friday Sept. 6th 6:30pm

For the Facebook event, it's here

Dièse Onze Jazz Resto   
4115A St-Denis   

Christophe Rodriguez (

 Simon Legault Trio - Liminal Spaces

August 15, 2019

Guitar lovers : you might want to run to your favorite record store or download Liminal Spaces. Talented guitarist Simon Legault cultivates the art of the trio with his colleagues bassist Adrian Vedady and drummer Michel Lambert. Like he explains eloquently, this project got off the ground after many encounters with his colleagues creating the chemistry behind Liminal Spaces. To give more clout to the album the standards were set aside highlighting thirteen very personal tracks that reflect the talent of the guitarist and composer. Airy and poetic without being new-age-ish, you could be reminded of Pat Metheny at a certain period.

It takes a bit of time and a certain state of mind to let yourself slip into the soft atmosphere of Liminal Spaces and A Moment Ago. And then things pick up with some driving swing on Solus I and Into the Unknown. As I was listening to the guitar, I had a endearing thought for departed Jacques Languirand and his radio show Par Quatre Chemins. The master of infinite spaces, who was also a jazz lover, would've loved Liminal Spaces. To sum it all up, Simon Legault plays wisely and works the themes with intelligence and sincerity. Nice work for guitar and art of trio lovers. In between the vibrant art and the connection in between the musicians, great research work.

Liminal Spaces / A Moment Ago / Inflexion / Solus I / Reenvision / Inevitable Certainty / Solus II / Adrift Solus / Interwoven / Prestidigitize / Solus III / Into the Unknown / Solus IV

Simon Legault Trio - Liminal Spaces

Simon Legault, guitar & compositions
Adrian Vedady, bass
Michel Lambert, drums

Christophe Rodriguez (

 Jim Doxas Quartet - Homebound

August 1, 2019

Drummer Jim Doxas and his brother Chet (sax and clarinet) are cornerstones of the Montreal/Quebec jazz scene. In June at the very first Québec Jazz en Juin festival - that was quite a success btw - Jim unveiled Homebound with his jazz buddies. In our effort to support our local artists, let's start by saying that this new release is a hit. With limitless means as well as twelve very personal compositions, jazz lovers as well as listeners that like discoveries will enjoy this new Homebound.

So let's say it right off the bat, this is some heavy stuff. It could bring to mind Coltrane, specially when tenor sax Al McLean gets involved, such as on Caledon East. We could say the same about trumpeter Lex French, an astute mix of Miles Davis from the 70s, with a dark and exciting sound. Ballads also abound in the creative project, such as A Ringing Endorsement that reminded me a lot about the Sami Rivers/Pharoah Sanders duo. At the heart of this project, drummer Jim Doxas does more than just keep time. He accompanies, supports and punctuates as did Art Blakey and without a doubt Elvin Jones, his model. Homebound is also a collective and perennial message in which we discover complex rhythmic figures.

Caledon East / Homebound / Home / Improv 3 / For Bill /
A Ringing Endorsement Improv 4 / Rosemarkie / Interruption / Improv 2 / Hymn for the 51 / Improv 1

Jim Doxas, drums & compositions
Al McLean, tenor sax
Lex French, trumpet
Adrian Vedady, bass

Christophe Rodriguez (

 Nicolas Villeneuve - Interstices

July 18, 2019

Summer is a great time for discoveries. So let's look into young pianist Nicolas Villeneuve. With his fine band of musicians he takes us on a lovely trip, in a summer mode, with eight very personal compositions. Instead of revisiting certain standards like some do, something we would've liked, he lets creativity unfold. Soft jazz that's like a summer breeze and sometimes remind me of Sergio Mendes. Interstices also gets into some latin grooves, supported by the lovely voice of singer Eugénie Jobin and Jules Payette's saxophone supplying a colorful accompaniment.

Imagine for a moment that you're by a lake and the album's third track, Deux Océans, plays and mingles with the soft breeze and calm highlighting Eugénie Jobin's crystal-clear voice. After some listening we realize that this singer we're discovering has probably gotten into Christine Legrand, a pillar of the Doubles Six and sister of Michel Legrand. And let's not forget bassist Sylvaine Arnaud, with some fine phrasing that enhances the voice of her collegue. In the case of pianist Nicolas Villeneuve, we can affirm that he's into jazz and classical. A sprinkling of Satie, two tablespoons of Bill Evans, and there you go, it's a done deal. Jazz of course, but a lot more than that.

Été / La Cumbia de la Amistad / Deux Océans / Reunion de los Espiritus del Bosque / Continuidad de los Parques / Las Ruinas Circulares / Mémoires Fossiles / Atardecer

Nicolas Villeneuve, piano
Eugénie Jobin, voice
Jules Payette, alto / soprano sax
Sylvaine Arnaud, bass
William Javier Machado, drums

Check them out at the Festi Jazz Mont-Tremblant Saturday Aug. 3rd @ 1:15pm.

For the promo video, it's here

Interstices on Facebook

Christophe Rodriguez (

 Laura Anglade - I've Got Just About Everything

July 4, 2019

Now here's some very delightful jazz from a young singer born in the South of France, raised in Connecticut, and now living in Montreal (aren't we lucky!). Songstress Laura Anglade carries on the tradition of the great ladies of jazz. A refined interpreter that sometimes brings to mind Helen Merrill or Julie London, as well as Anita O'Day, when the pressure is on. This new release is a savvy collection of classic standards that have stood the test of time. Whether you like jazz or not there's only one word that comes to mind : seduction.

In a very flexible format combined with the airy playing of saxophonist Masashi Usui who might recall Stan Getz, our young singer - who doesn't try to re-invent the genre - does it passion and lyricism. Improvising with finesse as well as making room for her collegues, she revisits for our greatest pleasure Exactly Like You, Three Little Words as well as Beautiful Friendship, a superb piece, that highlights what she can do on a tasteful swing. Jazz with heart and a litte extra something. Try it on, you'll love it!

A Beautiful Friendship / Change Partners / Easy Way Out / Spring Can Really Hang You up the Most / Imagination
I've Got Just About Everything / June's a Word / I'm Glad There Is You / Dearly Beloved / Exactly Like You / Three Little Words

Laura Anglade, voice
Masashi Usui, tenor sax & flute
Sam Kirmayer, guitar
Jonathan Chapman, bass
Valérie Lacombe, drums

For the video of Social Call, it's here

For her Facebook page, it's here

For more info,

Christophe Rodriguez (

 Jacques Kuba Séguin - Migrations

June 20, 2019

With Migrations, trumpeter Jacques Kuba Séguin treats us to a consistant & savoury album, just like a great bottle of wine. Thursday June 27th at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal and Friday June 28th at Québec Jazz en Juin it's a one-way ticket to a great voyage that's sure to please your ears. As always the trumpeter has done his homework, doing his research, discussing with people, taking the pulse of certain influences and souvenirs from friends and acquaintances such as novelist David Homel, jazz radio host and writer Stanley Péan, communicator and radio person Marie Lamoureux, etc. Out of that came Migrations, a new release that takes many roads. To mix it all together the trumpeter is joined by a solid team made up of pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, tenor sax Yannick Rieu, drummer Kevin Warren, bassist Adrian Vedady and a surprise, vibes player Olivier Salazar.

On seven tracks you'll hear everything that you could possibly want to satisfy your jazz thirst. After many listens, I had the sentiment of being in jazz club as on opening track Hymne with young vibes player Olivier Salazar that sometimes reminded me of Bobby Hutcherson or Gary Burton, pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, a jazzman that knows his classics and renders a beautiful tribute to Red Garland, and friend Kuba Séguin somewhere in between Miles Davis and Chet Baker, supported by the majestic Yannick Rieu that shares the soulfullness of John Coltrane. It's beautiful and a great start.

In I Remember Marie In April, energetic and « up tempo », full of beautiful musical citations, the pianist does his thing once again, the trumpeter beautifully saluting trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. And let's not forget the vibes player, a virtuoso who also renders a tribute to a master of the mallet : Lionel Hampton. On L’Écrivain, a nice reference to our friend Stanley Péan, we dive into the Blue Note era, with in backdrop, the Miles Davis of the 50s.

For the L'Écrivain video EPK, it's here

For the video of Origine that we filmed at the Salle d'Youville of the Palais Montcalm June 28th at Québec Jazz en Juin 2019, it's here

Ok nuff'said, it's a beauty and a hit.

Hymne / Origine / L'Écrivain / Première Neige (You're Not Alone) / Choucoune / I Remember Marie In April / Mosaïques

Jacques Kuba Séguin (musical director, compositions & trumpet), Yannick Rieu (tenor sax), Jean-Michel Pilc (piano),
Olivier Salazar (vibes), Adrian Vedady (bass) & Kevin Warren (drums).

Jacques Kuba Séguin presented Migrations Thursday June 27th (6pm) at l'Astral part of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal and Friday June 28th (8:30pm) at the Palais Montcalm part of the Québec Jazz en Juin festival.

Christophe Rodriguez (

 Yves Léveillé Quintette - Phare

June 6, 2019

Sometimes jazz can be like poetry. With the cold weather of the last few days - but don't despair summer is on the way - we strongly suggest pianist Yves Léveillé's new album to chase those blues away. Over the last twenty years we've kept track of the music of this jazzman which can be poetic and that invites us to dreams and voyages.

For Phare (lighthouse) - which is probably the one in Pointe-au-Père (Rimouski) - he's got a little help from his great musical friends, Jacques Kuba Séguin on trumpet, Yannick Rieu on soprano sax, Guy Boisvert on bass, and Kevin Warren on drums. But why those specific friends ? Because the proposed eight tracks needed to be played by seasoned performers, with something to say and extensive group experience. The universe of the pianist is sometimes like that of a novelist or traveler and is made up of imaginery atmospheres and long dreamlike beaches that arouse our senses. With this band, he make a lot of room for all with long choruses that highlight, among others, Jacques Kuba Séguin and Yannick Rieu.

With most of the tracks going from 6 to 9 minutes everybody shows off and does their thing on title track Phare, as well as on Gestation, Toujours Est-il, Eau Trouble & Gratitude. In his own discreet way Yves Léveillé launches the themes, giving the lead to his collegues and taking us by the hand for a most beautiful voyage. A endless poetic discourse masterfully played by a musician with a presence and capacity to touch us.

Phare / Sang-Froid / Gestation / Centaure / Toujours Est-il / Eau Trouble / La Lune dans sa Bulle / Gratitude

Yves Léveillé Quintette with Yves Léveillé on piano, Yannick Rieu on saxophone, Jacques Kuba Séguin on trumpet, Guy Boisvert on double bass and Kevin Warren on drums.

To contact Christophe Rodriguez :

 Gentiane MG Trio - Wonderland

May 23, 2019

The 2018-2019 Radio–Canada Jazz Révélation, the Gentiane MG Trio pursues their path. As opposed to their first album that had left me slightly dissatisfied, the trio steps up their game on Wonderland. Surrounding pianist Gentiane Michaud-Gagnon, bassist Levi Dover and drummer Louis-Vincent-Hamel are in perfect osmosis. Full of tenderness and poetry, take some quiet listening time and take in Gentiane's playing that recalls Bill Evans in his golden years and Ahmad Jamal on Live at The Pershing. If unity is the goal, they've achieved it, they are one.

On this oh-so-sublime album, supported by thirteen personal compositions, the art of the ballad is omnipresent as well as the swing that was missing a bit on the last album. As well as weaving elegant melodic lines, the pianist dialogues with her collegues and we can easily name famed Scott LaFaro in regards to the bassist. He underlines, exchanges and puts the ball back to the soloist's court.

To support our affirmations listen to Blue - Noir - Sol as well as Road To Nowhere. We previously mentionned Bill Evans, but we could also talk about Randy Weston and in a certain way Michel Petrucciani, the pianist and composer instills tenderness and modesty at the heart of this new release. Tracks 7, 8 and 9 make up the Wonderland matrix that reflects emotion at its highest point, with a subtle mix of poetry and delicacy.

Under such circumstances, kudos to this trio that will, without a doubt, incite you to dream.

Opening : Forgiveness / Erased Self / Blue - Noir - Sol / Road To Nowhere / Empty Canvas / Heavy Weight /
Wonderland - part 1 : Comeback / Wonderland - part 2 : Shadows / Wonderland - part 3 : Unbearable / Interlude : Sanctuary / L’Heure du Thé / Fool's Gold / Repentance

Gentiane MG on Facebook, it's here

The Gentiane MG Trio will be presenting a free outdoor concert Thurday July 4th at the 1st
Festival International de Jazz de Verdun
, a new site of the Montreal Jazz Fest! Click here for the complete schedule.

To contact Christophe Rodriguez :

 AFJP - Post Bop Pawn Shop

May 9, 2019

Guitar teacher for the last 15 years at the Sherbrooke Cegep and brother of famed filmmaker Kim Nguyen, Annam Nguyen cultivates arts and jazz. For this new AFJP (diminutive of Annam’s Family Jazz Project) release, 4 years after Dim Sun Jazz, he offers us - with the help of his accomplices - a more or less modern version of bop. Far from de Grant Green or Joe Pass, reminding us of Fred Frith, as well as Nguyên Lê in his playing, this Post Bop Pawn Shop is invigorating, spicy, with just the right stuff to titillate your ears. As it's often the case, no standards here but some very personal compositions that showcase his work, the playing and the writing.

With drummer Simon Bergeron, bassist Jonathan Boudreau, saxophonist Thiago Ferté and a few surprise guests, such as trumpeter Rachel  Therrien and keyboardist Gabriel Vinuela Pelletier, let's finally get into the heart of the matter. In his singular and sometimes slighly bit academic universe, the guitarist revisits with precision the essence of jazz on Nicky’s Reggae Groove, the heat of the bossa-nova on Used To Be Bossa highlighting trumpeter Rachel Therrien, which is a first in-studio meeting. In a registry that sits somewhere in between light rock and jazz, Hot Babe, the opening track is a nice intro. Jazz with rock grooves, typically contenmporary and highlighting the guitarist, as well as his musical friends.  

Nice connected work, imaginative with well-thought poetic spaces. Bravo !

Hot Babe / Almost There / Post Bop Pawn Shop / Frigid-Air / Nicky's Reggae Groove / Out of Credit /
Used to Be a Bossa / Gossip / Juju / Winter's Coming



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

 Montreal Guitar Trio - California Guitar Trio - In a Landscape

April 25, 2019

Even if the guitar is not my favorite instrument, I can recognize our local talent as well as international talent. Having some favorites including the great Wes Montgomery, Stevie Ray Vaughan as well as Carlos Santana, you gotta keep up with new music. If young musicians and bands need a little help, our work becomes more than essential. With the Montréal Guitare Trio, we've only got good things to say and this group made up of Sébastien Dufour, Glenn Lévesque and Marc Morin know their stuff. Without it being really jazz, althought I'm pretty sure our axemen have listened to Joe Pass and Pat Metheny, the work is impressive from start to finish.

For this trip in nature they've gotten together with their acccomplices of the California Guitar Trio, Bert Lams, Paul Richards and Hideyo Mriya.  With this return amongst friends - which is a lot more that just who plays the fastest - fans and guitar lovers are obviously in for a treat. In between the personal compositions and the revisited Weird Fishes (Nirvana), Space Oddity (David Bowie) and John Cage's enigmatic In a Landscape, what a rush. Whether you like or not the guitar,  this new release is a gem that will please a wide range of music lovers.

Congrats to these artists that hone their art with a lot of passion.

New Horizons / Weird Fishes / Magneto / In a Landscape / Fortune Island / Glass Tango / Space Oddity / First Steps / Perpetuum Mobile - Live in Atlanta

To listen to In a Landscape, it's here

Montreal Guitar Trio : Sébastien Dufour, Glenn Lévesque and Marc Morin

California Guitar Trio
: Bert Lams, Paul Richards and Hideyo Moriya

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


April 11, 2019

This UZEB R3UNION Live release steps outside the boundaries of jazz. For more than fifteen years this amazing trio inspired by long gone Weather Report gave the Montreal/Quebec jazz-rock scene it's credentials. Starting practically from scratch, the trio made up of Michel Cusson on guitar, Alain Caron on bass, Paul Brochu on drums, and let's not forget keyboard players Jean St-Jacques and Michel Cyr, were a hit with the public all over the globe. UZEB was like a school...and virtuosos. Who can forget Michel Cusson's fiery riffs, Alain Caron's tastefully played funky bass lines, and Paul Brochu's drivin' grooves.

We were there for the big free outdoor concert at the 1992 Montreal Jazz Fest and again in 2017 at Place des Arts, for their R3UNION concert of the same festival. We were there, the young and not so young, with a precise idea for the latter looking to revisit a period and sound, and for the others to discover these epic musicians, and UZEB was up to the task at hand. To give more power to the 2017 event, a hot brass section was added for this unique concert. And because no record company saw the potential of this album bassist Alain Caron took things into his own hands with his company Norac and decided to record that concert.  For their 2017 tours that included Canada of course, as well as Europe, the UZEB powerhouse made sparks fly.

The nine tracks will quickly make you forget this April weather, with the live applause sounding the mood of the event. It sounds great, better than could be expected, it's happy...and groovy. For audiophiles out there, a double vinyl album is released, as well as a CD version and a downloadable version on all major platforms. With slightly reworked arrangements and some horns here and there, it's a second life for this trio that's hasn't lost it's magic. And it's all there : Junk Funk, the unforgettable Perrier Citron alongside 60, rue des Lombards, Cool It, of course, and the very beautiful GoodBye Pork Pie Hat, a tribute to Charles Mingus and legendary Lester Young.

What a treat!

Loose / Cool It / Junk Funk / Slinky / Goodbye Pork Pie Hat / Perrier Citron / R3UNION Suite (Mr Bill / Wake up call / Funkaleon) / 60, rue des Lombards / Brass Lic

Available on  Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and double vinyl on Renaud-Bray

For our video clip of New Hit filmed at the 2017 Montreal Jazz Fest, it's here

UZEB on Facebook

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

 Michel Berthiaume Quartet - Uncompromised

March 28, 2019

Drum teacher at Vincent d’Indy Music School and busy musician on the Montreal and Quebec jazz scene, Michel Berthiaume welcomes us to discover seven tracks of his compositions, and in many genres. This album is a reflection of the relentless work of these younger musicians that aren't into standards. Even if we think that's too bad, it sometimes allows us to compare, and to hear the drummer's play with certain masters, but nonetheless let's give them a chance to be heard.

Contrary to how the album is presented on CDBaby, you won't find too much swing on this album which is true free jazz album. After two serious listening sessions, we tried to find the guiding principle that would've created an emotion but that wasn't the case. We recognise the writing and the cohesion of the group, but 180, Cynical Buddhist or Randomiser are strangely alike. Far from being uninteresting, the drummer's compositions suffer from a bit of overwriting. A bit of fresh air, like on Shifting Moods, would've been welcome.

Uncooperative / 180 / Cynical Buddhist / Randomiser / Evidence / Sambain't / Shifting Moods

For Uncompromised on CDBaby, it's here

For Michel Berthiaume's musician page, it's here

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

 Rafael Zaldivar - Consecration

March 14, 2019

Jazz and piano teacher at Quebec City's Université Laval, well-known musician in Montreal and Quebec, Rafael Zaldivar give us a majestic album. At the heart of this new release that will probably end up in a concert or a tour, let's hope for that, we rediscover the soul of cuban music and all of the the variations that it entails. To understand the genesis of this work, this is what the pianist says in the introductory notes : "This album was born from my Consecration in the Afro-Cuban hand of Orula. Orula's Hand is a spiritual immersion in the creation's eternal thought as a form of energy and matter". But that doesn't mean this album is about spriritualism, but rather some particularly dynamic & musically connected powers. 

So, go ahead and dive in as did your trustworthy columnist and you won't be disappointed. This cuban offering starts off with a futuristic Rock Con Leche that combines overlayed synthesizer tracks on the piano, followed by the robust Arara. Even if jazz is omnipresent, I suspect that the pianist listens to Erik Satie behind closed doors with Manifested Creation that brings to mind the Gymnopédies. In the heart of the city, late at night, Afro-Cuban Warriors has that little touch of modernism, relevant of our changing times. And then a nod to pianist and singer Nat King Cole, with a revisited Unforgettable played as a bolero. Beautiful, sensual, and fresh like spring.  Consecration is also the work of many, a team including bassists Rémi-Jean LeBlanc and David Gagné, percussionnists Eugenio Osorio and Amado Dedeu Jr, drummer Michel Medrano and singer Mireille Boily. He's done his work, so check it out!

A Rock Con Leche / Arara / Manifested Creation / Rezos / Afro-Cuban Warriors / When I Think of You / Obatala /
Eternel Creation / Congo / Simple Talking /  Unforgettable / Te Récordaré / Aché (Through The Consecration)

Rafael Zaldiver on Facebook

Consecration on Amazon, Spotify and iTunes

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

 Samuel Bonnet : Oriental Blue

February 28, 2019

To forget a bit of our many winter woes here's a timely musical escape. Oriental Blue conceals many voyages that might recall for seasoned jazzers  what had been done way back by oud player Rabih Abou Khalil with tenor saxophonist Charlie Mariano (Blue Camel/Enja). Born in Haïfa, Israël, having lived in Paris, guitarist Samuel Bonnet now makes Montreal his home. His accomplice, saxophonist Mathias Wallerand, armenian as well as lebanese, is currently teaching at the Conservatoire César Franck à Paris. Bridging jazz and world music, Oriental Blue is defined by its many diverse influences and will certainly reach a large public.

Far from being a "ambiance music" project, on this album we discover two very talented musicians. Fine guitarist and without a doubt classicaly trained, Samuel Bonnet treats us to a playing that's nuanced, serene dialogue and with a choice of colors with delicate harmonies. Somewhere in between departed Barney Wilen and veteran Wayne Shorter, Mathias Wallerand has a singular language and a playing that is dreamlike. Whether on the tenor or the soprano, the latter most probably his forte, his discourse is in perfect symbiosis with the guitarist. His playing evokes the large desert plains and wild flowers. To convince you, we suggest you listen to first of all Oriental Blue, Tabash and then Paco, probably a well-deserved tribute for the great Paco De Lucia.

Prélude / Haïfa / Oriental Blue / Tabash / Amigo / Paco / Lapis-lazuli / Heitor / Mah Tovu

To listen to Soundcloud and Spotify


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

 Josh Rager - Dreams and Other Stories

February 14, 2019

For anyone who's up and about on the Montreal / Toronto jazz scene, the name of pianist Josh Rager is one you can't miss. A classic and "modern" jazz player, this chameleon player can easily fit into any genre, with great precision and uncanny sensitivity. From Tadd Dameron to Hank Jones with some Oscar Peterson and the under-estimated Jess Stacy swing on way (relisten to Benny Goodman's 1938 Carnegie Hall concert), and that should give you a good idea about Josh Rager's capacities.

Dreams and Other Stories has some great interpretations, and they're all equally good. With the help of bassist Fraser Hollins, drummer Dave Laing and alto/tenor sax players Kenji Omae / Donny Kennedy, the pianist weaves some beautiful jazz. Whether on the standard Spring is Here, a beautiful piece of work by the Rodgers and Hart tandem as well as In A Dream, a very personal ballad that highlights his talent as a composer as well as a pianist, the outcome is consistant. To that you can add the dialogue of both saxophonists, that brings to mind the memory of Joe Henderson or even Mickael Brecker.

Now this is a great album.

Spring Is Here / Twinkle Toes / Those Who Came Before / New Waltz / In A Dream / Max's Facts / O Sacrum Convivium

For the EPK video :

To listen :

To buy :

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


 Elizabeth Shepherd - MONTREAL

January 31, 2019

On Saturday February 9th singer-songwriter Elizabeth Sheperd launched MONTREAL at Le Ministère (St-Laurent/Mont-Royal). Elizabeth Sheperd has been working on this ambitious project for the last 4 years and the adventure deserves explanations. The sum of musical and multimedia connotations, she's met Montrealers and created connections. Throughout the 11 tracks she sings that Montreal of neighborhoods and people that live for their community. Before we get to see the finished multimedia project next April, this intriguing new release sits in between the confines of jazz and electronica.

Imagine a moment that you're having a walk, you meet a passer-by start a conversation and it becomes great music and texts. Making a lot of room for the imaginary Elizabeth Sheperd sculpts ideas with Tiotake, and Reine du monde is another story that concludes with "ainsi soit-il". Listening to the pieces we wonder what's behind Our Lady, so funky while La Boxe, with lots of horns will give you wings. This singular album is a brave concept with a bright future.

Tiotake / Reine du monde / Suits And Ties / The Terminal / C'est le temps / Ainsi / Jedlika / Our Lady /
La boxe / Good Lord's Work / Beau voyage

For the videos that tell the story of each piece, it's here

Elizabeth Sheperd launches MONTREAL, Saturday Feb. 9th 8pm

Le Ministère
4521 St-Laurent

For the Facebook event, it's here
For the tickets, it's here

For Elizabeth's Facebook page, it's here

She's also launching MONTREAL at l'Église de Val-David Saturday Feb. 2nd 7:30pm, for more info, it's here

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

 Jazzlab Orchestra - Quintessence

January 17, 2019

15 years ago, double bassist and Effendi founder Alain Bédard created the Jazzlab Orchestra. To highlight this feat pianist Félix Stüssi wrote nine compositions that capture the essence of the band's path. A staple of the Montreal and Quebec jazz scene, standing out over the years with their compositions, the Jazzlab lays down some pretty invigorating jazz that recalls Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in the 50s-60s as well as modernism, and all created in good taste. Alain Bédard and his accomplices, as their name states, are a laboratory of ideas, and go the whole nine yards. Quintessence features adventurous compositions and great musicians and is a pleasure to listen to.

Throughout the tracks you might recognise a bracing Blues Malcommodes as well as the very solid Blüüsli für Gügi, a true tour de force that brings us back to the sounds of West Coast jazz, as would've imagined Bill Hollman. A true calling card for pianist / composer Félix Stüssi (very creative), this new release open us up to new horizons while still being rooted in a certain tradition. For the musical poet that dwells in you, Jazzlab give us a emotional language and a musical vision supported by great musicians. Cultivating unity, double bassist Alain Bédard deftly leads his troops, making a lot of space for the soloists that are : Mario Allard, alto sax, Alex Francoeur, tenor sax, Samuel Blais, baritone sax, Jacques Kuba Séguin, trumpet, Thomas Morelli-Bernard, trombone, Louis-Vincent Hamel, drums, and Félix Stüssi, piano.

Blüüsli für Gügi / E-migrations / Altered Ego / Nébuleuse / Quintessence / Blues Malcommodes / Abyss / Last Chance Dance / Subsub's Blues

For a video of title-track Quintessence, it's here

For the EPK and more info, it's here

The Jazzlab Orchestra presents Quintessence at L'Astral Thursday March 15th, 2019.

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

 Michel Dubeau - Moving Clouds

January 3, 2019

And what if we got this new jazz year going with this unique new release to be discovered Saturday January 19th at the Dièse Onze ?

Multidisciplinary artist and saxophonist, Michel Dubeau has been part of the jazz scene for many decades. Having worked with departed Guy Nadon, as well as Oliver Jones and Michel Cusson, as well as a few other very creative bands, his work in the realm of jazz is impressive. With a grant from the Canada Arts Council he's off to Japan to study the Shakuhachi, a japanese flute as well as other musical environments that followed suite after his work and studies. With Moving Clouds, we're truly in the heart of the matter, and it's ambitious.

Far from our regular jazz meanderings that is our daily fare, Moving Clouds requires some attentive and focused listening. Without it being all over the place and similar to what Pharoah Sanders did in the sixties, and not unlike Yussef Lateef, Michel Dubeau and his collegues explore, in a seductive way, worlds unknow to us, mere mortals. For this synergy of rhythm and poetry hats off to this fine trio completed by Julien Maugis on the Fender Rhodes, synthesizer, bass and sound effects and Alain Plouffe at the drums and percussions. Nice work that will without a doubt reach a large public eager to discover new musical horizons.

Yuki No Shita / Akita Obako / Moving Clouds / In The Cave / Wandering Monks / Thunder And Rain / Moments

To listen to Yuki No Shita and buy Moving Clouds, it's here

For more info,

Michel Dubeau (Shakuhachi, tenkan and sound effects)
Julien Maugis (Fender Rhodes, synthesizer bass and effets)
Alain Plouffe (drums and percussions)

Thursday January 19th 6pm
Michel Dubeau - Moving Clouds
Dièse Onze
4115A St-Denis   

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

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Win a pair of tickets for MachiNations by saxophonist Yannick Rieu Thursday Oct. 17th at the Théâtre Outremont!

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