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ALL THE QUÉBEC JAZZ NEWS SINCE 2003

JazzBulletin   -   Thursday June 22 2017 to Saturday July 22 2017

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For jazz musicians and professionals

Real great jazz at the Festival with The Stanley Clarke Band, Joshua Redman’s Still Dreaming, Danilo Pérez and Jean-Willy Kunz.

1C - The Stanley Clarke band-Hallway-2016__300.jpgThe pantheon of jazz fusion bassists numbers a few untouchable names: the late Jaco Pastorius, our own Alain Caron and the great Stanley Clarke. Co-founder of Return to Forever with Chick Corea, famed collaborator with history’s greatest players and recipient of the Miles Davis Award in 2011, Clarke brings his latest album to the Festival on July 3rd at Place des Arts' Théâtre Maisonneuve. Opening act: The Jeremy Pelt Quintet.

Jean-Willy Kunz with L’orgue dans tous ses états on July 5. Not only does this unique concert transport the organ far beyond the confines of church music, it also  presents a special opportunity to hear the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal organist in residence “at home” on his main instrument, the majestic Grand Orgue  Pierre-Béique. Kunz will be preceded by a performance from young virtuoso organist Christian Lane. Get set for a colourful, passionate evening! For the video, it's here

At the Maison symphonique on July 4, innovating and exciting artist, Panamanian cultural ambassador pianist-composer Danilo Pérez meets his longstanding trio bassist Ben Street and drummer Adam Cruz in an exhilarating performance where jazz flirts with Latin music! They will be followed by Joshua Redman and his three compadres presenting their bold project Still Dreaming, inspired by the revolutionary, experimental œuvre of legendary quartet Old and New Dreams (all former Ornette Coleman sidemen).

Tickets and info at montrealjazzfest.com 


Real hot concerts at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal : Concha Buika, Jane Bunnett, Arturo Sandoval, Michael Kaeshammer and Lisa Simone!

FIJM17_150x150_LisaSimone.jpgHere are a few suggestions for fans of warm and captivating voices in Théâtre Maisonneuve during the Festival.

On July 4, a superb Spanish singer of Equato-guinean heritage, winner of a Latin Grammy, Concha Buika pours her rich voice and disarming charisma into music rooted in flamenco but inspired by jazz, Afrobeat, soul and pop, pulsing with deep intensity and emotion. She’ll perform songs from her latest album, Para Mí (2017). But first, the visceral flamenco of the Barcelonese Rosalía and Raül Refree.

See Concha Buika for yourself in this video

A great Afro-Latin double bill on July 5. Opening the show, the outstanding Canadian saxophonist and flutist Jane Bunnett and her album Maqueque, on which she collaborated with five talented Cuban musicians. Next, it’s the triumphant Festival return after a 14-year absence by one of the grandmasters of jazz Afro-Latin jazz trumpet Arturo Sandoval, a onetime protégé of the immortal Dizzy Gillespie, this virtuoso has produced nothing but magic from his horn for over 50 years.

Arturo Sandoval in 2015 on this his video

On July 6, Michael Kaeshammer, the boogie-woogie pro, cannot but win you over with his virtuosity, vocal talent and irresistible charisma. He’ll be followed by  Nina Simone’s daughter Lisa Simone, who's lived a thousand lives before releasing her debut album at 52. And while her music reveals a direct line of familial descent, when Lisa takes the stage, the mutual love affair with her audience is completely her own.

Tickets and info at www.placedesarts.com


Brazilian jazz with Manoel Vieira and Quintet, Friday June 30th at the Vendredis Jazz of l'Espace Cercle Carré.

Maonel-Vieira.jpgManoel Vieira is a virtuoso pianist from Sergipe, Brazil with a classical piano training. After graduating from the Federal Universidade da Bahia he began a career as a soloist in various orchestras symphonies from Brazil as well as a teaching at Music Conservatories in Sergipe, Alagoas and Bahia. His love for classical, jazz and the musicality of Brazilian folk music describes the pianist he's become. He can switch from Prokofiev, Mozart to Gershwin,  Thelonius Monk and Piazzola with the same virtuosity and musical passion.

In 2015 he settled in Quebec City, where he completed a PhD at Laval University in piano jazz and improvisation, where's he's just won the first Jazz Music Prize in 2017. His career has led him to play in several local and Canadian clubs, as well as playing at the 2016 Montreal Jazz Fest. He's back for the 2017 Montreal Jazz Fest playing twice on an outdoors stage June 30th to finish up the day at Les Vendredis Jazz of l'Espace Cercle Carré in Old Montreal.

On Friday June 30, Manoel Vieira's music will make us travel to the rhythms of the Brazilian melodies pushing the limits of interpretation and musical discovery. He will be accompanied by the excellent Carlos Henrique on drums, Jairzinho Teixiera on saxophone, Alciomar Oliviera on trombone and Thierry Sterckeman on the bass.

To see the video of Assum Preto, that's here

Come and take part in this beautiful Brazilian party in the heart of Old Montreal, @ 36 Queen Street between Wellington and de la Commune.

A musical cocktail at 6:30 pm will precede the concert of the Manoel Vieira 5tet - Admission: $ 45 (cocktail and concert) / admission: $ 25 (concert) / reservations: (514) 397-0430 cartonsuper@bell.net - Friday June 30th at 8pm - 36, rue Queen - This is the last concert of the Vendredis Jazz de l'Espace Cercle Carré series.


Uzeb in concert Thursday June 29th at the Montreal Jazz Fest. It's been 25 years since Uzeb, the great Montreal jazz/fusion band played their last concert at the 1992 Montreal Jazz Fest. Here's our interview with the trio.

uzeb trois 150x150.jpgUzeb is back after all these years for a R3UNION concert, June 29th 2017 at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier of the Montreal Jazz Fest. So I met guitarist Michel Cusson, bassist Alain Caron and drummer Paul Brochu to find out more about this power comeback and their state of mind. Here are the transcripts from the french video interview.
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CT : What's the feeling to be back together after all these years?

Michel : It's very exciting, I don't get the feeling we haven't played for 25 years but maybe two months. There's a good buzz.

Alain : When we decided to get back together for next summer - which is not a new album project - we listened and scanned our music and decided what we wanted to play. So we've got a great setlist and with today's technology the sounds and arrangements will be even better, updated and with our identities. We want Uzeb to be at the level it was in terms of performance, playing and soundwise. 110% Uzeb!

Paul : For me it's a logical follow-up, I've been working with Michel and Alain in their own projects for those 25 years. It'll be a gas to get back on stage with them, and great to relive that magic.
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CT : So what's the setlist? a best of? a little bit of everything?

Alain : Not a little bit of everything but some very precise things. We've chosen pieces that we felt like playing, riffs that touched us because of the music and the structures as well as a few Uzeb "hits", it'll be a surprise! We're revisiting some arrangements, redoing some parts in a new way, that's the way we work. Each time we play there's always a new idea. We want people to recognise Uzeb. We don't want to do something completely new, we want to play Uzeb. And I think that's what our fans wants. It'll be nice reunion.
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CT : There's the Uzeb sound, can you reproduce that sound today?

Michel : Yes and no. Back then I had a ton of equipment, and it cost a fortune to transport. There's things that would be impossible to re-create. I've always been into technology and today more than ever, I'm fascinated by the level of precision that you can reach with that. As far as I'm concerned it's a huge upgrade of my sounds. Within each piece there are many different sounds that change and I can program those sounds very accurately, so it'll be nice 2017 version. The public will be happy to hear that, like a good wine that's matured. We're a band that has recorded many live albums so there's a lot of here and now, so maybe, maybe a new record after, but not before. So we won't launch a new CD at our concerts, but it might happen after.

Paul : I need certain pads to trigger specific sounds but they'll be much smaller, but with a much bigger sound. It's a lot easier to program than it was.
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CT : What are your sources, your inspiration...

Alain : When I met Michel we played Charlie Parker but right away he plugged in a pedal, I got a bigger amp, added backbeat and that was the start of fusion, or jazz/rock, jazz...with a rock sound. After that there were many other influences. It's always been jazz open to the world. Jazz with improvisation, jazz language, and a sound with influences from all over, and could be cuban rhythms, classical harmonies, etc...I listened to Charlie Parker, Coltrane, but also Weather Report, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock,  Tower Of Power, Blood Sweat and Tears, Chicago, not too much into prog rock except Yes because of Chris Squire, I also listened to Motown and R&B. We were into music that was played with precision, like Steely Dan, with tight rhythms, so more of a pop, or studio attitude, with jazz improv and tight playing.

Michel : It's an interesting question, let me draw a parallel. Everybody's got Spotify, Apple Music, etc. So I went online and searched for Jimmy Hendrix and listened to vinyl albums I had way back and that I hadn't listened for 40 years. I realised that there was a connection, they had a lot of liberty adn they jammed. In the rock world, they were influenced by Miles, and vice-versa. There are phrases that he played and that I recognise and that I play, but I never copied them. There was also Cream, they didn't last long, that's true but when you listen to them, the played a piece for 10 minutes or more. That's a little bit like we what do with our power trio. At the very start Jean St-Jacques (drums-vibes-keys) brought some great things to the group, we then became the final trio and a certain liberty happened. Now, 25 years later we've grown and matured and we'll play with that. It's at another level now.

Paul : Real young, when I was 13-14 years old I played a lot of rock. Then I heard Billy Cobham and it changed my life around. After that I discovered Buddy Rich, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Frank Zappa. I'd put the record and play with it. Obviously, Weather Report, Chick Corea, Miles...
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CT : When you were called St-Eusèbe Jazz, what's the first piece you played in...St-Eusèbe?

Michel : We never played in St-Eusèbe, that's maybe the only error on Wikipedia about Uzeb. The real story is that we were going to do our first show in 1975,  Jean St-Jacques, who was drummer back then (and after played vibes and keys), Luc Beaugrand and me, we looked at the calendar and it was St-Eusèbe's anniversary and and we played in Acton Vale. It then became St-Eusèbe and then Uzeb. Alain joined the group in 1977 and Paul in 1980. We probably played Chick Corea's Spain, something much too hard for  our young age!
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CT : Out of the Uzeb 10 albums, which is your favorite?

Alain : You can't really an artist which is his favorite CD. They're like our kids, they each have their personality and ways.  On each of our albums we always did the best we could do at the time it was done. There are pieces and compositions that are better than others and on each album there is a signature that relates to what we were at the time. Obviously maturity came to our writing, production and all that. If I listen to our very first album (Uzeb live in Bracknell - 1981), it was completely green, young, but the energy was incredible.

Paul : I agree with Alain. Nonetheless, I prefer that trio formula, our last album, World Tour (1990), highlights well the efficiency of the trio.
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CT : What are the Uzeb WOW! moments?

Alain : When I saw Michael Brecker playing next to me...

Michel : When we did the first part of Miles Davis in Toronto as a simple concert-goer. A music lesson in itself. It was in 1985 at Ontario Place, a fabulous moment, magical, 14,000 people, for a hour I was blown away. No just the notes he played, but the notes he DIDN'T play, and how he led the band without a word, just by moving around.

Alain : I have a story about that, I don't know if you remember. We'd just done the sound test and at a certain moment we hear that Miles Davis doesn't want us to play the first part! He doesn't want us to play, it's crazy, it doesn't make sense. Finally they brought him to his hotel and things worked out, whew!. Another story about Miles : He's walking towards me - he was my idol - we'd heard about him and how he could be, I tell myself, I have to say something, I have to say something, what was I going to say...well he walked right by me and nothing came out! I didn't speak english too well back then and what I was thinking of saying seemed so...ridiculous. So I opted for silence, like him. When we played in Djakarta, and Israel too, that was fantastic.

Paul : Playing with Michael Brecker, Don Elias, when we did the Olympia in Paris, great souvenirs.
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CT : What do you listen to these days?

Michel : I don't have a lot of time to listen to music. So sometimes I go on Spotify and Apple Music and type names. It can be electronic music, the other day I was listening to some Meshell NdegeoCello, it can be very eclectic. In jazz I like the old classics that never age. I never get tired of listening to Miles Davis.

Alain : I've always got a Bill Evans album not too far and that I listen to when I don't know where I'm going. Dirty Loops, Snarky Puppy, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and I seach and discover music on Youtube. But when I'm writing music I don't listen to much music and prefer silence.

Paul : I don't listen to that much music, maybe because I work in music. As a teacher, I get a lot of suggestions from my students. Aaron Parks, Ari Hoenig, etc. and some
good old Miles.

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CT : If you could play with anybody, dead or alive, who would that be?

Alain : I stopped playing the upright bass when Bill Evans died, I'd play upright again with Bill Evans.

Michel : There are so many, because I write film music, I'd like to meet Thomas Newman. Ni idol in particular. It's a thrill to share music, a common language and to share it. In Africa many years ago I found myself playing in Dakar with singer Alioune Mbaye Nder, he know Uzeb, I had my guitar, we jammed, it was phenomenal.

Paul : Jaco Pastorius, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock. Miles Davis, I would've loved!
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Uzeb R3UNION
Thursday, June 29th 2017 at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier of the 38th Montreal Jazz Fest
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Interview : Claude Thibault
For the french video interview, that's here
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To see our other Festival International de Jazz de Montreal interviews including Bria Skonberg and Kellylee Evans, that's here


CDJAZZ by Christophe Rodriguez

Janis Steprans Quintet - Ajivtal

I've been following alto sax player Janis Steprans for the last 25 years. Mainstay of Vic Vogel's great orchestra at a certain period, this musician that can play in so many styles is a well-kept secret. Over and above what's in vogue and the passage of time, his fine playing makes for some great jazz that will please many. For this Ajivtal, a reference to the land of his ancestors, the nine tracks at hand are jewels as well as fine lessons on how jazz should be played.

On Shades of White, this is real nice playing with Janis expressing himself in a fluid and strongly nuanced playing. Although he's an altist, we discover his soprano playing with some Coltrane intonations on Luna’s Tune, which is, once again, a nice piece of work. Janis knows how to surround himself, being with pianist Geoff Lapp, bassist Adrian Vedady, drummers André White/Kenton Mail as well as surprising guitairist Gabriel Hamel.

Master of the ballads, Chambre No. 5 is is the perfect space to play in different tonalities all that can do a sax player that masters his instrument. Without it being world music, Suites de thèmes lettons is a nice exercise for the alto with some beautiful and precise phrasing, rather than a long wordy discourse. Like I said before, beautiful!

janisstreprans.com


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


TVJAZZ  June 28 2012
Stanley Clarke and Hiromi at the FIJM 2012


Trombonist Ryan Keberle, Catharsis and Camila Meza, political jazz, Tuesday June 27th at Upstairs.

Ryan-Keberle_Catharsis petit.jpgFor his Montreal first, trombonist and composer Ryan Keberle presents his latest project Find the Common, Shine a Light with his group Catharsis. Political jazz that's good for the soul. This 4th album is an answer to today's political and social unrest, an urgent call for change.

A powerful mix of music and catchy riffs, Ryan Keberle presents his group in a genre that could be described as jazz indie, with deep grooves, blues, latin jazz, including compositions and a captivating interaction in between the members of the group. This is produced by great trumpeter Dave Douglas on the Greenleaf Music label.

Ryan Keberle studied violin and classical piano quite young to eventually make the trombone his instrument. He still plays chamber music with a brass ensemble. He studied with Wycliffe Gordon and was a member of Jazz at Juilliard.

As a versatile musician, the trombonist has been part of many projects with jazz greats, indie rock and R&B superstars, among the likes of Maria Schneider, Darcy James Argue, Rufus Reid, Wynton Marsalis, Sufjan Stevens, Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake. His compositions can be heard on film soundtracks such as a Woody Allen film, as well as the Broadway musical «In the Heights», that won a Tony.

A catharsis is the separation of good and bad, a liberation of words that can lead to the sublimation of pulsions. Ryan Keberle & Catharsis collectively address the problems of this troubled world and give us hope facing today's preoccupations.

He's in concert with vocalist and guitarist Camila Meza, from Santiago, Chili, the New York Times describes her as NY's best kept secret on voice and guitar. Her style ranges from folklore to pop and mixes in quite well with Keberle's jazz.
 
Catharsis is a group of young and talented musicians having all played a major role on the american jazz scene, as well the latin jazz scene, which explains all the different rhythms of their music. They'll play the complete Find the Common, Shine a Light comprised of Ryan Keberle compositions, as well as pieces and  arrangements from The Welcome Wagon, Bob Dylan and the Beatles. A concert with lotsa love and hope. A revelation!

Ryan Keberle - trombone, keys and melodica
Camila Meza - voice and guitar
Scott Robinson - tenor sax and trumpet
Jorge Roeder - acoustic and electric bass
Eric Doob - drums

For the excellent video, M. Azul, that's here

Ryan Keberle & Catharsis

Tuesday June 27th 2017 8pm
Upstairs
1254 Mackay   
514-931-6808
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Coco - coconette@gmail.com
Facebook / twitter
Coco Jazz, Tuesday night 7pm @ 100,1 CKVL FM


BassDrumBone, with Mark Helias on bass, Gerry Hemingway at the drums and Ray Anderson on trombone play the The Long Road, and more, at the Resonance, July 5th.

ray anderson bassdrumbone.jpgBassDrumBone - that's Mark Helias on bass, Gerry Hemingway at the drums and Ray Anderson on trombone - are celebrating 40 years of music together with new music from The Long Road and an impressive tour all throughout the US, parts of Canada as well as Europe. Since they'll be at the Resonance on Parc Ave. Wednesday July 5th I had a few questions for trombonist Ray Anderson.
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CT - So Ray an easy opening question to start things off, day 6 or so of the tour, how's it going so far?
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RA - It's impossible for me to overstate what a joy it is to be on this tour with BassDrumBone. 40 years of friendship, both musical and personal, creates a unique
environment: we are each bandleaders, but nothing compares to playing with your best friends, who know your joys and sorrows so well. Our deep level of trust and love frees our creativity; we can be "crazy as we wanna be" free to both laugh and cry...

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CT - After 40 years of playing together, and after seeing the promo video for this 40th and your last double CD, The Long Road, I'm assuming you guys reconnect like it was yesterday...and you seem to be having a good time!
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RA - Your assumption is correct, and that instantaneous reconnection has everything to do with our longevity. There's an ease inside of all the hard work. We always have challenging new music to play, but a wonderful confidence that we can make it all sing. And yes, we are indeed having a good time, which is, thankfully, infectious.  
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CT - So how did you connect way back in what is it...1977?
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RA - It started when bassist Mark Dresser, whom I met in 1975 when he arrived in New York (an even longer friendship!), relocated to New Haven, CT, shortly thereafter I used to go up there to visit and play. He lived close to drummer Gerry Hemmingway, and one day we went by there. Mark Helias - the bassist, was in town getting a Masters degree at Yale and he already knew both Dresser and Hemingway. Somehow the 3 of us hooked up and started playing trio. Right from the beginning it was something we all wanted to continue to explore. It really came together when Gerry hired Mark and I to play a concert at the school where he was teaching.
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CT - And what inspired you three to form this unique bass, drum, trombone configuration ? was is something thought of prior to or did it just...happen?
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RA - Definitely not prior thought. But the trio felt complete immediately. We have always been able to move freely between  different musical roles: sometimes trombone  plays rhythm, drums play melody, etc., and that makes for a more complex and complete sound, with endless possibilities. And that first gig went really well!
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CT - And you've kept it together nicely for all those years...is it a mix of talent, connection and friendy vibes? what keeps you guys going?
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RA - We have had pauses, some of considerable length, but the friendship and synergy is always there. Most significantly, everyone continues to grow and mature as musicians, so the experience is always challenging and growth inducing. I get better playing with these guys!
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CT - You've released 10 albums together, musically speaking how has your connection evolved since the first one?
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RA - That's hard to put into words but I feel certain that all of us have gotten stronger and more complete as musicians. I believe we have greater range of expression and are more clear and confident in the millions of instantaneous decisions one makes when improvising. In any art form the process of maturation often involves a focusing, a kind of distillation: say what you want to say without surplusage. Hit it and quit it! Of course there is still always a time to break out, explore, and push the boundaries, but as one matures there is a kind of refining. This is reflected in our compositions as well as our performances.
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CT - You also have a special connection to Montreal having played at the Montreal Jazz Fest as well as with Félix Stüssi and Les Malcommodes...
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RA - Love Montreal!!  I've played the festival many times with my own bands (I remember well having a week of leading different bands daily back in '91 or so) and others (Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra stands out in my memory, probably because there is a recording). But in recent years it has been a great joy to play with Felix, who is a fantastic composer and player and has become a very good friend. We met sometime in the 80s, in Switzerland, at a gig that he promoted. I remember staying up nearly all night talking music and politics and life. More than 20 years (25?) later, having been in Montreal quite a long time already, he had a dream that I was in his quintet and tracked me down. We've made a bunch of recordings in different formations, have played all over Canada, toured in Europe and even worked as a duo.  To be continued, definitely!
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CT - So what can we expect you'll be playing at the Resonance July 5th?
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RA - We will be playing quite a bit of stuff from our new recording, The Long Road, as well as stuff from the voluminous (40 years!) book.
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CT - In a few words what would you like to tell our readers about July 5th?
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RA -  At this point we are all filled with gratitude to have this chance to play our music. We don't take anything for granted and every gig is so special to us.  July 5th is a rare opportunity: we don't do this often, and while we think of ourselves as youngsters, the truth is we're not getting any younger. We expect magic and we hope to see you all there!
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BassDrumBone
Mark Helias - bass
Gerry Hemingway - drums
Ray Anderson - trombone

Wednesday July 5th 9pm
Resonance
5175A Ave. du Parc   
514-894-7543

To see the The Long Road + 40th year tour promo video, it's here
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Interview : Claude Thibault


TVJAZZ  June 29 2016
Lisa Simone - FIJM, June 29th 2016


TVJAZZ  December 15 2016
Uzeb R3UNION interview with Michel Cusson, Alain Caron et Paul Brochu - Dec. 15th 2016


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