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Du souffle Quasar

Cover art: Yechel Gagnon, Arpenter le temps (2012)
  • Canada Council for the Arts

Ce sont sans doute les compositions de Simon Martin qui nous apparaissent les plus intéressantes. Revue & Corrigée, France

Quasar acquit themselves well with their efforts, and there’s no denying the heartfelt sentiment behind Andriessen’s work. The Sound Projector, UK

Featuring exclusively acoustic compositions, Du souffle reveals Quasar at the height of its art, carried by the enthusiasm and energy that has always characterized Montréal’s saxophone quartet.

The album’s title, Du souffle (taken from the eponymous composition by Philippe Leroux), imposed itself as the most appropriate for the third “solo” album by this hard-working group who has been at the forefront of creative music for more than 20 years now. Throughout the entire album, Quasar deploys a sound palette of extraordinary richness, placing the saxophone quartet at the heart of today’s contemporary music.

Philippe Leroux’s Du souffle, the masterpiece opening the album, is here recorded for the first time, after a long and fruitful collaboration between the French-born, Montréal-based composer and Quasar.

The following tracks are both being commissioned and premiered by Quasar: Levées by Gilles Tremblay and Jimmie LeBlanc’s Fil Rouge. The first seems to come from a poetic, hot and exhilarating sound univers; the second, from a sharp, incisive and dazzling one.

Pulau Dewata, a composition that has become a “classic” over the years, — and here arranged for saxophone quartet — reveals, without any artifice, the extreme melodic and rhythmic richness of an ever-fascinating composer.

Quite on the contrary, Facing Death (inspired by Charlie Parker) is a long and hectic journey that holds both the performers and the listener spellbound. Quasar has had the pleasure of working with composer Louis Andriessen to this new arrangement of his highly virtuosic composition.

Quasar thanks all composers, the entire team at DAME as well as visual artist Yechel Gagnon, whose work Arpenter le temps adorns the CD cover.

  • Collection QB
  • CQB 1617 / 2015
  • UPC/EAN 771028371723
  • Total duration: 73:05


  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits
  • Collection QB
  • CQB 1617_NUM / 2015
  • UPC/EAN 771028371785
  • Total duration: 73:05


  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

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Du souffle


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In the press

Whither Canada? Part 2

Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector, August 20, 2016

Quasar — the Quasar Quatuor de saxophones, to give them their complete name — also have a solo record of their modernistic saxophone work, Du souffle (CQB 1617). They tackle works by Canadian composers Philippe Leroux, Gilles Tremblay, Jimmie LeBlanc, Claude Vivier and Louis Andriessen. All convincing material and well played too, though LeBlanc’s Fil rouge strikes a chord on today’s spin, perhaps because of its extreme compression; very short segments in this 8-part suite, of which one lasts just 7 seconds, but still manages to say something with a few well-placed toots. I’ve tried reading the composer’s explanation of Fil rouge, but it loses me with its abstruse inter-textual associations. With the other pieces here, it’s notable how many of them stand on the cusp of turning into big-band jazz; there’s something about the chord changes, the awkward attempts to “swing”, and the occasional forays into “complexity” that feel like a laborious attempt to score something which any member of Duke Ellington’s orchestra could easily have played at the drop of a fedora. This jazz leaning is most evident on Facing Death, the 1990 composition by Andriessen, which explicitly attempts to pay homage to the music of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. He originally composed this recasting of complex Be-Bop music for strings, knowing full well that “bebop is not at all idiomatic for string instruments”. It kind of misfires in this woodwind arrangement too, but Quasar acquit themselves well with their efforts, and there’s no denying the heartfelt sentiment behind Andriessen’s work. I just wish it didn’t make jazz seem so “worthy”, like some sort of improving text which we have to study, rather than simply dig.

Quasar acquit themselves well with their efforts, and there’s no denying the heartfelt sentiment behind Andriessen’s work.


Maxime Bouchard, Camuz, February 2, 2016

Impressionant exercice sur ce nouveau disque «acoustique» de Quasar, quatuor de saxophones, groupe québécois très estimé. Des 5 longues compositions, nous retenonons la fantastique interprétation de Facing Death, composition de Louis Andriessen qui clôt l’album. Clin d’œil à Charlie Parker, ce morceau de 18 minutes est magnifiquement arrangé pour l’entrecoisement des 4 lignes de saxophone. Bebop et virtuosité.

Bebop et virtuosité.

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