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Visions fugitives op. 22 Quartetski

En plein cœur des troubles sociaux causés par le Révolution russe, Sergei Prokofiev écrivit ses Visions fugitives op.22, une série de courtes pièces solos pour piano. Ces Visions traduisent des idées ou des situations qu’il avait captées puis jetées sur papier avant qu’elles ne disparaissent de sa mémoire. La majorité des Visions ne durent que quelques dizaines de secondes, la plus longue étant d’à peine deux minutes.

C’est la spontanéité de ces pièces qui retint l’attention du contrebassiste montréalais Pierre-Yves Martel qui, avec son ensemble Quartetski Does Prokofiev, repense les Visions fugitives dans un contexte d’improvisation. Martel fit l’arrangement de ces pièces pour quatuor free-jazz dans l’intention de les utiliser comme véhicules, comme ponts et comme plates-formes pour explorer de nouveaux espaces musicaux. Toutefois, il demeure fidèle à l’esprit du compositeur russe, imaginant comment Prokofiev aurait orchestré les Visions s’il les avait adaptées pour un ensemble de jazz moderne.

Visions fugitives op. 22

Quartetski Does Prokofiev

Quartetski

Pierre-Yves Martel

  • CD
    AM 171
    16,95 CAD
    Rupture de stock temporaire

Quelques articles recommandés

La presse en parle

  • Vincenzo Giorgio, Wonderous Stories, no 13:36, 1 juillet 2008
    Dietro alla sigla Quartetski Does Prokofiev in verità si cela un quartetto di jazzisti condotto dal contrabbassista / arrangiatore Pierre-Yves Martel che intende non solo offrire un tributo alla musica del grande compositore russo ma anche proporne una eccitante esplorazione.
  • Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy, no 58, 1 mai 2008
    Höchst abwechslungsreich und typisch pluralistisch springt die Musik von heiteren zu burlesken, von süßen zu fröhlichen, von wilden zu gramerfüllten Stimmungen.
  • Dolf Mulder, Vital, no 624, 22 avril 2008
    … the original music must be very suitable for being transposed to a modern jazz context, or […] the arranger and the quartet are very creative in doing so.
  • Solomiya Moroz, Left Hip Magazine, 3 avril 2008
    … the freely improvised element of the album is the strongest…
  • Piercarlo Poggio, Blow Up, no 119, 1 avril 2008
    … esperimento riuscito…
  • Réjean Beaucage, Circuit, no 18:2, 1 avril 2008
    Comme un peintre qui aurait trouvé un carnet de croquis et choisi de poursuivre la démarche de son prédecesseur, Martel redessine, augmente et colore les esquisses, sans pourtant cesser de respecter le trait personnel du compositeur russe.
  • Doug Fischer, Ottawa Citizen, 29 mars 2008
    The circus-like Ridicolosamente, for instance, gets a dazzling treatment featuring vibrant solos…
  • Paul Serralheiro, The Squid’s Ear, 24 mars 2008
    Add to this an excellent use of texture changes, tempo fluctuations and equilibrium between the composed and the improvised and this makes for a disc that is both fun and serious.
  • Ken Waxman, Coda Magazine, no 338, 15 mars 2008
    … rethinking and remaking a score can create a musical invention that’s as profound as — or even an improvement on — the original.
  • Félix-Antoine Hamel, La Scena Musicale, 1 février 2008
  • Adam Kinner, The Gazette, 9 décembre 2007
  • Kristina Brazeau, L’Express d’Ottawa, 4 décembre 2007

Recensione

Vincenzo Giorgio, Wonderous Stories, no 13:36, 1 juillet 2008

Dietro alla sigla Quartetski Does Prokofiev in verità si cela un quartetto di jazzisti condotto dal contrabbassista/arrangiatore Pierre-Yves Martel che intende non solo offrire un tributo alla musica del grande compositore russo ma anche proporne una eccitante esplorazione. Perché, se proprio la vogliamo dire tutta, ogni tributo che si rispetti non deve riprodurre ma, riscrivendo, indicare nuovi approdi!

In effetti Martel si insinua del pentagramma prokofiefano esaltandone i silenzi, frammentandone i fraseggi, marcandone le melodie, sfumandone i cromatismi. Fin dall’iniziale Lentamente si può godere della peculiarità di questo dischetto: cioè gli impasti fiatistici tra la tromba di Gordon Allen e i sax/clarinetti di Philippe Lauzier (di cui abbiano dato conto del bell’esordio in trio qualche tempo fa) in bilico tra situazioni armoniche variegate e ben colorate dai piatti del percussionista Isaiah Ceccarelli. Un’atmosfera allarmante che si tuffa nella felpata partitura dell’ Andante mentre il contesto bandistico-destrutturato del Molto giocoso rivitalizza l’ascoltatore forse immalinconito da questa rilettura così rigorosa e borderline. Se l’Allegretto I trasuda di rinnovata energia, Con eleganza pare riscrivere certe pagine del tardo Stravinsky mentre Commodo (così nel titolo) riecheggia certo radical-jazz per fiati soli. Allegretto tranquillo, grazie al pastoso contrabbasso di Martel, disegna una sorta di ballata silente che contrasta ferocemente con l’atmosfera felliniano-circense di Ridicolosamente. Molto bello, poi, il sincopato contrappuntismo di Con vivacità così come l’andamento dolente (quasi funeralesco) di Assai moderato.

Con la speranza che quelle del Quartetski Does Prokofiev non siano visioni fuggitive ma inaugurino un nuovo modo di rileggere il nostro passato.

Dietro alla sigla Quartetski Does Prokofiev in verità si cela un quartetto di jazzisti condotto dal contrabbassista / arrangiatore Pierre-Yves Martel che intende non solo offrire un tributo alla musica del grande compositore russo ma anche proporne una eccitante esplorazione.

Kritik

Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy, no 58, 1 mai 2008

Wie klingt Prokofiev als Jazz? Quartetski Does Prokofiev führt es vor. Der Kontrabassist Pierre-Yves Martel hat Visions fugitives op. 22 (AM 171), genauer, 18 der 20 Klavierminiaturen, die Sergey Prokofiev (1891-1953) 1917 geschriebenen hat, umarrangiert für ein Jazzquartett mit Gordon Allen an der Trompete, Isaiah Ceccarelli am Schlagzeug und Philippe Lauzier an Alto- & Sopranosax und Bassklarinette. Angeregt von Gedichten seines Landsmannes Konstantin Balmont, der mit der Zeile “In jeder flüchtigen Vision erblicke ich Welten Erfüllt vom Wechselspiel der Regenbogenfarben” auch den Titel inspirierte, konnte Prokofiev zeigen, dass er neben seinen sarkastischen und motorischen Fähigkeiten auch lyrisch komponieren konnte. Höchst abwechslungsreich und typisch pluralistisch springt die Musik von heiteren (Con vivacità) zu burlesken (Ridicolosamente), von süßen (Con una dolce lentezza) zu fröhlichen (Allegretto), von wilden (Feroce) zu gramerfüllten (Dolente) Stimmungen. Die meisten kennen von Prokofiev die pathetischen Eisenstein-Soundtracks zu Aleksander Nevsky (1938) und Iwan der Schreckliche (1942-44) oder Peter und der Wolf op. 67. Die Flüchtigen Visionen galten unter Stalins Kulturfuchtel als entartete Werke des Künstlers als junger Affe. Quartetski präpariert genau das als Witz und ‘Jazz’ an der Sache heraus, betont Prokofievs freches, quasi schauspielerisches Umspringen mit ‘Gefühlen’, kostet das Groteske (Inquieto) genau so genüsslich aus wie alle anderen bewusst illusionistischen Momente. Das Marmor zerspringt, der Kalk rieselt und Musik von beträchtlicher Sophistication wird hörbar.

Höchst abwechslungsreich und typisch pluralistisch springt die Musik von heiteren zu burlesken, von süßen zu fröhlichen, von wilden zu gramerfüllten Stimmungen.

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no 624, 22 avril 2008

Quartetski Does Prokofiev is a jazz quartet. Bassist Pierre-Yves Martel arranged the Visions fugitives‚ of Prokofiev for a jazz quartet. Other members of this quartet are Gordon Allen (trumpet), Isaiah Ceccarelli (drums) and Philippe Lauzier (alto and soprano sax, bass clarinet). If I didn’t know, I could not have guessed that these compositions are by the hand of Prokofiev or any other composer from this era. This implies that the original music must be very suitable for being transposed to a modern jazz context, or that the arranger and the quartet are very creative in doing so. Probably both are true. In 18 short pieces — most of them about 3-4 minutes — the quartet explores and revives the originals that are even shorter. Prokofiev composed them during the Russian Revolution for piano. They remained at the stage of musical ideas, but prove to be very fitting starting points for improvisation for this very capable quartet.

… the original music must be very suitable for being transposed to a modern jazz context, or […] the arranger and the quartet are very creative in doing so.

Review

Solomiya Moroz, Left Hip Magazine, 3 avril 2008

Pierre-Yves Martel’s arrangement of 18 of Prokofiev’s Visions fugitives is an interesting new look at the music of Prokofiev through jazz and improvised music’s perspective. In the past many have tried to arrange Visions fugitives for different ensembles because the tunes of Visions lend themselves easily to adaptation. They are well suited for jazz music because of their colourful, percussive and polytonal nature. One could assume that this is a jazz adaptation because of the instruments involved like double bass, saxophones (soprano, alto, bass clarinet), drum-set, and trumpet. However the musicians rarely venture out into a free improvised jazz world. This kind of approach could be heard just a few times like on tr.2 Andante, tr.14 Dolente or tr.16 Con una dolce lentezza where the music is slow enough to give rise to an improvised jazz-style imagination.

With all this said, the freely improvised element of the album is the strongest despite many sources of inspiration that the music of Prokofiev and the jazz backgrounds of the musicians bring into play. The arrangements themselves stay very true to the original piano music allowing the improvisations to come in once the musical thoughts of Prokofiev have been expressed in their almost full content. This allows the musicians to have a comfortable space for their own improvisations. A few times the free instrumental improvisations take place before the piece or in the middle. I particularly like when they happen in the middle, allowing for a space between the old material and the new, a retrospective look at the music of Prokofiev. Though the arrangements are directly taken from Prokofiev, the rest of improvisations are all musicians’ creations. The bassist Pierre-Yves Martel, drummer Isaiah Caccerelli, trumpeter Gordon Allen and saxophonist Philippe Lauzier have worked together on many free improvised music sessions, they are all well-known musicians within Montréal’s free-improvised music scene. Thus making improvised music together comes as a very natural activity for these musicians and it is not surprising that they find themselves together in this project initiated by Pierre-Yves Martel.

Musically, some improvisations grow out of musicians’ thoughts, sometimes having almost nothing to do with the music of Prokofiev that came before. Especially when it is very free and effect inspired. This approach works very well for Con vivacità, where the free improvisations take the listener away into another musical universe just to be brought back by a slower section of the piece lead by the double bass. It also works well on Assai moderato and Feroce. An introductory improvisation suits the beginning of Inquieto, which has two improvisations each very different from another. The album is very poetic especially when a solo instrumental improvisation sets the tone. One has to listen to Pierre-Yves Martel on the bass in the solo sections of the album to catch this poetic quality. Gordon Allen’s improvisations are full of satire and poetry as well. Isaiah’s tumbrel drumming helped by many different kinds of drumming sticks adds a lot to the jazz feel and tone of the Visions, giving the ensemble an invitation to indefinite-pitch explorations. While Philippe Lauzier demonstrates fine soprano saxophone playing with a tone that is both light and playful adding a theatrical element to the Visions and bringing the original material into a sharper focus. There are some beautiful ensemble moments like on tr.17 Allegretto II, perhaps due to a broken-up piece segment structure alternated by improvisational segments, keeping our attention focused on improvisations to come.

… the freely improvised element of the album is the strongest…

Recensione

Piercarlo Poggio, Blow Up, no 119, 1 avril 2008

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) fra espatrii, ritorni, stroncature feroci e medagli al valore trovò il tempo di scrivere molte pagine di musica da camera tra cui si possono ritenere i quartetti per archi, i Sarcasmi op. 17 e le Visioni fuggitive op. 22, in origine pensate per il pianoforte, ma spesso e volentieri trascritte nella seconda metà del Novecento per ampi ensemble. Il Quartetski di Gordon Allen (tromba), Isaiah Ceccarelli (batteria), Philippe Lauzier (sax e clarinetti) e Pierre-Yves Martel (contrabbasso) va ancora un passo oltre e si lancia in una rivisitazione jazzistica. Della composizione originaria, scritta da Prokofiev nel 1917, non proprio un anno qualunque, rimane l’agitazione di fondo, la sovversione ritmica, i fitti cambiamenti di colore e umore, resi dal Quartetski con molta attenzione e partecipata adesione. Il suono d’insieme non è mai esageratamente ostico e in particolare la tromba si ingegna di isolare gli attimi di introspezione onirica. In sostanza, esperimento riuscito, ma non abbiamo ben compreso perché anziché venti, come dovrebbero essere, i quadretti prokofieviani sono solo diciotto. (7/10)

… esperimento riuscito…

Critique

Réjean Beaucage, Circuit, no 18:2, 1 avril 2008

Les Visions fugitives de Sergei Prokofiev, pour piano, forment un ensemble de 20 courtes pièces très introspectives dont certaines, fugitives indeed, ne durent qu’une vingtaine de secondes. Le contrebassiste et directeur musical de l’ensemble Quartetski, Pierre-Yves Martel, a choisi de transcrire ce recueil pour l’interpréter avec son quatuor de jazz contemporain. Comme un peintre qui aurait trouvé un carnet de croquis et choisi de poursuivre la démarche de son prédecesseur, Martel redessine, augmente et colore les esquisses, sans pourtant cesser de respecter le trait personnel du compositeur russe.

Martel a évité les pièges rencontrés par Rudolf Barshai et Roman Balashov lors de leur transcription pour orchestre, dans laquelle, c’est le moins que l’on puisse dire, le côté introspectif de l’œuvre en prenait pour son rhume (voir Les Solistes de Moscou et Yuri Bashmet, chez Onyx Records, 2007). Transcrit pour trompette (Gordon Allen), batterie (Isaiah Ceccarelli), saxophones ou clarinette basse (Philippe Lauzier) et contrebasse, l’univers de Prokofiev ne perd pas au change, bien au contraire; les passages improvisés ou les techniques de jeu modernes qu’emploient les musiciens n’interfèrent jamais avec le projet du compositeur, mais l’actualisent.

Pourquoi Martel a-t-il choisi de ne transcrire que 18 des 20 pièces, et pourquoi le disque ne nous les présente-t-il pas dans l’ordre habituel? L’absence de livret ne nous aide évidemment pas à répondre à ces questions, mais après avoir transformé jusqu’aux molécules des mélodies, ajoutant près de quarante minutes de musique à l’ensemble, le transcripteur aura peut-être voulu pousser encore plus loin son appropriation du carnet de croquis. Cela apparaît à l’écoute comme parfaitement légitime, et l’interprétation de Quartetski, qui livre la substance de l’œuvre dans un souffle des plus personnelles, est pleinement justifiée par les vers de Constantin Balmont que Prokofiev plaçait en exergue à la partition:

«Tout ce qui est fugitif me fait voir des mondes
Pleins de jeux chatoyants et changeants»

Comme un peintre qui aurait trouvé un carnet de croquis et choisi de poursuivre la démarche de son prédecesseur, Martel redessine, augmente et colore les esquisses, sans pourtant cesser de respecter le trait personnel du compositeur russe.

Leaving the living room behind

Doug Fischer, Ottawa Citizen, 29 mars 2008

In the late ’90s, I visited a cramped living room in Vanier to watch three raw young musicians who called themselves Blue Room roar through an afternoon of loud post-bebop jazz. The trio didn’t amount to much more than a garage band, jazz-style, but it was evident bassist Pierre-Yves Martel, drummer Mike Essoudry and saxophonist Petr Cancura were going places.

A decade later, they have arrived — separately — with a trio of debut albums: Martel as the force behind Quartetski’s free-jazz take on Sergei Prokofiev, Essoudry in an improvisational duo with saxophonist Linsey Wellman, and Cancura as frontman on a world-music-tinged CD coming later in the year.

Of the two albums already available, Quartetski’s is more ambitious and more satisfying. But the group is working with a bigger palette — four musicians versus two — and a larger canvas: 18 piano sketches by Prokofiev versus a dozen off-the-cuff tunes.

Martel took Prokofiev’s pieces Visions Fugitives, Op. 22, written amid the chaos of the Russian Revolution — and arranged them so his Montréal-based quartet could use them as springboards (“vehicles, bridges and platforms” in his words) to improvisation.

Given the upheaval during which the music was written, it’s hardly surprising many of the compositions are brooding and contemplative. Although the group sometimes struggles under the weight, it also frequently rises to the occasion with surprising harmonic textures and deft interplay.

But Martel’s idea works best when the musicians are dealing with Prokofiev’s more playful compositions. The circus-like Ridicolosamente, for instance, gets a dazzling treatment featuring vibrant solos from trumpeter Gordon Allen and saxophonist Philippe Lauzier that roll over the top of Martel’s beefy bass and Isaiah Ceccarelli’s rollicking drums. The inaptly titled Allegretto tranquillo, raucous rather than calm, also gets high marks.

On the other hand, the disc from Essoudry and Wellman, both living in Ottawa, succeeds most often when the music is more tranquil. The sax-drums combination is one of the most difficult in jazz to pull off, even in the hands of technical masters like John Coltrane and Rashied Ali. Essoudry and Wellman, of course, are not in that league, and their efforts at hard-charging improvisation are not nearly as effective as their meditative pieces, especially the delicate Jeweled Garden.

The circus-like Ridicolosamente, for instance, gets a dazzling treatment featuring vibrant solos…

Review

Paul Serralheiro, The Squid’s Ear, 24 mars 2008

Montréal’s creative music scene is growing by leaps and bounds these days, and this release is elegant proof of the fact. A piano-less and guitar-less quartet made up of trumpeter Gordon Allen, drummer Isaiah Ceccarelli, reeds player Philippe Lauzier and bassist Pierre-Yves Martel, Quartetski is a meeting of some of the more active minds on the Montréal scene all focused here in their improvisatory efforts on the score of Prokofiev’s 1917 suite of piano miniatures, Visions fugitives. Arranger and musical director Pierre-Yves Martel has reworked eighteen of the twenty Prokofiev pieces and scored them for the quartet, taking liberties with the music to make room for improvisation and interpretation.

With standard Italian indications like Lentamente and Allegretto, and the less common Ridicolosamente and Lento irrealmente the pieces are distilled treats of classical sensibility, and while the quartet respects the spirit of the pre-composed music, they thankfully take it outside the box, as in the trumpet smearing and gentle squeals and wind-patterns of the opening cut or the Don Cherry minimalist and quasi-dixieland playfulness of Commodo.

Using the Russian composer’s themes as “heads,” preceded by intros and followed by tags or codas, the musicians explore the character of each piece. This may seem like riding on the coat-tails of the famous Russian, but Pierre-Yves Martel’s classical background as viola de gambist gives him an edge since he obviously understands the meaning of the music well enough to pull the rabbit out of the hat. And while the personalities of these musicians are distinct, they blend convincingly. Allen’s variety of trumpet timbre, often tending to graceful understatement, Lauzier’s supple reeds, Ceccarelli’s timekeeping and colorist drumming and Martel’s eclectic bass vocabulary that can be as intense as William Parker and as light as a Strauss waltz are definitely complimentary colors. Add to this an excellent use of texture changes, tempo fluctuations and equilibrium between the composed and the improvised and this makes for a disc that is both fun and serious.

Add to this an excellent use of texture changes, tempo fluctuations and equilibrium between the composed and the improvised and this makes for a disc that is both fun and serious.

Review

Ken Waxman, Coda Magazine, no 338, 15 mars 2008

Nearly 90 years after its Petrograd premiere, Visions Fugitives the “savage and sensational” 22-minute piano piece by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953), has been admirably recast into nearly an hour’s worth of quartet jazz, by expanding the improvisational qualities of its 18 themes. Credit for this re-imaging goes to bassist Pierre-Yves Martel, a Vanier, Ont.-native, who produced, arranged and music directed the CD. But the transmutation of the piece depends on the contributions of all members of the Montréal-based quartet: trumpeter Gordon Allen, Phillippe Lauzier, on alto and soprano saxophones and bass clarinet and drummer Isaiah Ceccerelli. Martel, who also plays early music on viola da gamba and with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, instinctively knows how to recast classical pieces so the improvisations aren’t segregated from the themes. Instead the composer’s atypical pitch and tempo direction are given added fillip with improv-jazz techniques. Maintaining a reverence for the original composition, Martel still allows his team to, for instance, transform Con vivacità with inferences from Classic Jazz, including slap bass lines, pressured growls from Lauzier’s horn and Allan’s wah-wah trumpet. Similarly, Inquieto see-saws between droll buffo interludes featuring rubato trumpet braying and sweeping sul tasto string work and a brisk parade ground pulse, strengthened by pedal-point, bass-clarinet snorts.

A notable landmark, the CD not only suggested unexpected material available for jazz exploration, but proves that rethinking and remaking a score can create a musical invention that’s as profound as — or even an improvement on — the original.

… rethinking and remaking a score can create a musical invention that’s as profound as — or even an improvement on — the original.

Critique

Félix-Antoine Hamel, La Scena Musicale, 1 février 2008

Chaque nouvelle manne de disques en provenance de nos camarades de chez DAME offre sa dose de surprises. Examinons cinq nouveautés de la saison courante en provenance de cette entreprise vouée à la distribution de ces musiques inclassables. Preuve à l’appui, le second disque du violoniste-compositeur Guido Del Fabbro.

Agrégats (AM 167 CD, ***) est une collection éclectique de treize miniatures — une seule pièce dépasse les six minutes — puisant aux sources du folklore européen (Le Curare et la ciguë), du rock (Las stable es stable), de la musique improvisée, électronique (Interlude résiduel) et même des marches! Dix musiciens regroupés en formations à géométrie variable composent la distribution de ce cocktail réjouissant.

Si Bach et Debussy ont souvent fait l’objet de relectures par des musiciens de jazz, on ne pourrait en dire autant de Prokofiev, dont le contre-bassiste Pierre-Yves Martel a réarrangé 18 des 20 Visions fugitives, Op. 22. Projet ambitieux, Quartetski does Prokofiev (AM 171 CD, ****) est cependant mené à bien par quatre des meilleurs jeunes musiciens de chez nous, lesquels sont, outre le bassiste, Gordon Allen à la trompette, Philippe Lauzier aux anches et Isaiah Ceccarelli à la batterie.

Le batteur Michel F Côté, avec (juste) Claudette (AM 168 CD, ***) présente un quartette à mi-chemin entre les délires bruitistes de Sun Ra et les grooves à la Medeski, Martin and Wood. Solide contrebasse d’Alexandre St-Onge, sons irréels d’orgue (gracieuseté de Jesse Levine) et envolées de guitare de Bernard Falaise sont les ingrédients essentiels de ce mélange détonnant.

De la musique du trio Fenaison (Rémy Bélanger de Beauport, violoncelle et électroniques, Charity Chan, piano «revisité» et Kris Covlin, saxophones), Fred Frith dit que c’est «une musique qui n’a pas de sens… elle vit!». Sur Plat (AM 169 CD, ***), les trois musiciens nous proposent une série de sept improvisations abstraites. À vous de trouver le sens… ou la vie!

Dernier disque, mais non le moindre, le plus récent enregistrement de Jean Derome et les Dangereux Zhoms, To Continue (AM 172 CD, ****), est une suite de six compositions assez élaborées du saxophoniste qui, par sa mise en musique d’un texte du sculpteur Richard Serra et de La Grenouille et le bœuf de La Fontaine, nous rappelle la démarche de l’un de ses maîtres, Steve Lacy.

Quartetski Does Prokofiev (very well)

Adam Kinner, The Gazette, 9 décembre 2007

When I try to explain to non-musicians why I like improvised music I always settle for something like: “well, if you saw a really great improvised music show, you would like it too.” Not very convincing, perhaps, but I find it’s the only way. You have to experience the excitement and intensity of great improvisation before you can come to appreciate it. And great improvising - as numerous first-hand experiences have proved - is rare. I don’t mean great jazz playing, or a great tenor solo at Biddles - I mean the kind of improvisation that makes you tingle all over and run home through the snow without your gloves on.

Quartetski’s show at Sala Rossa on Wednesday night was one of those rare nights that has the capability to win over an audience for improvised music. The four musicians, trumpeter Gordon Allen, saxophonist Philippe Lauzier, drummer Isaiah Ceccarelli, and bassist and arranger Pierre-Yves Martel, came together to make music that spoke effortlessly for itself.

Pierre-Yves Martel, the leader of the ensemble, arranged Sergei Prokofiev’s Visions Fugitives Op. 22 for jazz quartet. The piece, written by the Russian master in 1917, has a fair amount inspiration in it to begin with. Prokofiev’s piece is at once lyrical and playful, upbeat and pensive, patient and nervous. But the extent to which this show is correctly called an “improvised music” show is the extent to which Martel and his Quartetski changed the piece, opened it up for improvised interpretation, and made it come alive. Exactly how much of what they played was Prokofiev, how much was Martel, and how much was each individual improviser was hard to tell, and for that reason, it was perfect. The 1917 piece becomes a perfect forum for modern improvisation, both giving to it and taking from it.

It doesn’t hurt that Martel and his group are all accomplished improvisers. Martel has to be one of the most interesting improvisers I’ve seen. His big meaty tone rang perfectly in the usually acoustically unsatisfying room, and his clear execution (on the most physically demanding instrument in music) served his inventive ideas. Watching him improvise is remarkably exciting, like the unfolding of a spellbinding story. Ceccarelli’s drumming is playful, tasteful, and understated, with none of the bombast that can ruin a nice improvised piece. Instead, he favours the hand bells, cymbal combinations, and the rubbing of a stick-end on the snare drum - nearly inaudible, but the perfect gesture for the moment. Lauzier and Allen added a nice top-end. Beautiful tones, lots of quirky extended techniques (musical squeaks and pops) and a clear comfort with the material that rounded the group as a cohesive quartet.

They record for a CBC broadcast on Saturday, and their record is now available on the Ambiances Magnétiques label. From what I’ve heard, it sounds even better on record.

Quartetski Does Prokofiev: un groupe aux sons improvisés

Kristina Brazeau, L’Express d’Ottawa, 4 décembre 2007

Quartetski Does Prokofiev, composé du contrebassiste Pierre-Yves Martel, du saxophoniste et clarinettiste Philippe Lauzier, du trompettiste Gordon Allen et du batteur Isaiah Ceccarelli, donne dans l’improvisation pour leur premier album. Ceux-ci lanceront bientôt Visions fugitives op.22, qui est en fait un hommage irrévérencieux à Sergei Prokofiev.

Par irrévérencieux, Pierre-Yves Martel entend «qu’on (le groupe) s’éloigne de l’approche traditionnelle en musique classique, soit d’essayer d’interpréter une pièce afin qu’elle soit présentée dans sa forme “pure”. Il n’y a pas d’objectivité dans notre projet. C’est vraiment une recherche subjective par laquelle nous nous approprions l’œuvre du compositeur afin d’en faire la nôtre.»

Dans cette optique, leur disque comporte des airs de jazz et de musique improvisée. «Ce genre de musique comporte une volonté de s’éloigner des règles et des traditions», explique-t-il.

Celui qui a étudié en musique classique et en composition à l’Université d’Ottawa, joue toujours au sein de l’Orchestre Symphonique d’Ottawa et du Centre national des arts ainsi que du Quintette Mont-Royal.

Le musicien, qui a appris à l’oreille, penche toutefois vers la musique improvisée. «J’ai commencé très jeune à improviser. J’ai commencé à lire la musique à la fin de mon adolescence, avant je jouais à l’oreille, je m’amusais à faire des sons et à improviser des mélodies. Je me sens plus à l’aise lorsque je n’ai pas de musique devant les yeux. J’ai l’impression de jouer, comme un enfant, sans règles et sans structure établie, je peux faire ce que je veux!»

Le groupe lancera son album, mercredi, à la Sala Rossa, à Montréal, ainsi qu’à Ottawa, le 8 décembre. Le concert sera d’ailleurs enregistré par CBC Radio One et sera diffusé à travers le pays. Le groupe envisage aussi de faire une tournée au Canada ainsi qu’en Europe, en 2008.

Pierre-Yves Martel signe les arrangements de l’album. Le groupe a d’ailleurs été en prestation à l’OFF Festival de jazz de Montréal, en juin dernier, et a remporté le Prix François-Marcaurelle, décerné à une formation s’étant particulièrement distinguée lors des concerts.Pierre-Yves Martel a aussi un album solo à son actif, intitulé Engagements & Confrontation. Il sera en spectacle à Terre-Neuve en juillet prochain et en Norvège, en novembre 2009.Quartetski Does Prokofiev sera à la Salle Freiman de l’Université d’Ottawa, le 8 décembre à 20 h.

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