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Face in the Crowd: Top 10 Albums of 2003

O Nate, Lost in the Crowd, December 23, 2003

3. Pierre Labbé is a saxophonist and composer who is active in the Montréal-based musique actuelle (literally "music now") scene and has played with members of the Canuck-prog band Miriodor. On this, his debut disc as a leader, he and his cohorts split the difference between avant-garde jazz, contemporary composition, and prog, while in the process forging a sound that is uniquely their own. There is a nice balance between the structured rigor of composition and the adrenaline rush of improvisation. The mix of instruments - tenor sax, violin, cello, double bass, electric guitar, and drums - hints at the stylistic breadth the band is capable of. They can sound like a string trio, a swinging jazz group, or an experimental rock band-all within the space of one song. Yet, thanks to Labbé’s clever writing, the juxtaposition of styles is organic and seamless.

Yet, thanks to Labbé’s clever writing, the juxtaposition of styles is organic and seamless.

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