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Kurt Gottschalk, Signal to Noise, no. 48, December 21, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007 Press

Lately some members of Montréal’s endlessly inventive Ambiances Magnétiques collective have been turning to songbooks south of their border. Last year saw a tribute to Charles Mingus by bassist Normand Guilbeault and clarinetist Robert Marcel Lepage’s excellent Pee Wee Russell album, as well as the second CD by the Trio Derome Guilbeault Tanguay, which included pieces by Sonny Clark, Duke Ellington, Lee Konitz and Cole Porter. The latter’s new release is a live DVD that captures a strong set featuring compositions by Ellington, Eric Dolphy, Lennie Tristano and Fats Waller, as well as a piece by pianist Misha Mengelberg, who certainly deserves to be in such company. Derome himself is no stranger to jazz standards — his longstanding Évidence trio (with Tanguay and bassist Pierre Cartier, who’s proven to be something of a crooner as well in the last couple years) is built from the Thelonious Monk repertoire. The new trio started out performing original compositions (and two Derome pieces are included here), but it’s more than welcome to hear a band this strong taking on the classics. And if their The Feeling of Jazz lacked a little oomph, in front of an audience they are solid and graceful, and the set list is well-chosen. Derome takes on Ellington’s Fleurette Africaine and Waller’s Jitterbug Waltz (hands down two of the loveliest melodies of their era) on flute, and plays a confident saxophone on Dolphy’s Miss Ann and 245 (another nice choice) and Guilbeault is lyrical (if a bit under-miked) throughout. But the main reason to watch (as opposed to simply listening) this set is Tanguay. Like New York’s Tom Rainey, he is subtle yet always pushing; his finesse is easy to miss on record, but watching him just affirms how on his toes he always is. The video is well-shot, with multiple cameras, soft white lighting and very good sound, a standout release in the label’s ever-growing catalogue.

a standout release in the label’s ever-growing catalogue.

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