actuellecd The New & Avant-garde Music Store

Jean Derome More from the press

In the press

Traquen’Art pour Jean Derome et les Dangereux Zhoms

Félix-Antoine Hamel, La Scena Musicale, no. 13:4, December 1, 2007

On ne compte plus les concerts produits par l’organisme montréalais Traquen’Art au fil des années, aussi bien du côté des musiques du monde - par sa maison de production parallèle Crosscurrent Musics - que du jazz contemporain et de la musique actuelle. Impliqué dans l’aventure depuis les tout premiers débuts - il a participé à la tournée de Steve Lacy avec l’Ensemble de Musique Improvisée de Montréal en 1982 - Jean Derome présentera à la Sala Rossa le 13 décembre prochain une pièce pour 11 musiciens, nouvelle composition commandée par le fondateur de Traquen’Art, Patrick Darby, pour marquer ses 25 ans d’activités. Utilisant son ensemble-phare les Dangereux Zhoms (Tom Walsh au trombone, Guillaume Dostaler au piano, Pierre Cartier à la basse et Pierre Tanguay à la batterie), Derome (au sax alto et à la flûte) y greffera six musiciens invités, soit sa compagne Joane Hétu (voix), Nadia Francavilla (violon), Lori Freedman (clarinettes), Bernard Falaise (guitare), Gordon Allen (trompette) et, dans certaines pièces, Martin Tétreault (tables tournantes). La première partie du concert sera constituée de quelques pièces plus anciennes (Seven Dances for Fifteen et Cinq pensées pour le caoutchouc dur) puis, en deuxième partie, une toute nouvelle composition, que Derome décrit comme «moderne, urbaine et mordante et qui se veut à la fois un portrait de Traquen’Art et un genre de mise au point sur la conjoncture et l’évolution de la musique actuelle mmontréalaise».

Derome et du souffle

Réjean Beaucage, Voir, September 27, 2007

Afin de souligner la Journée internationale de la musique et à l’invitation du Conseil québécois de la musique (CQM), Voir a adopté, cette année, Jean Derome.

Multiinstrumentiste débridé, jazzman virtuose, compositeur actualiste et champion de l’impro sans filet, Jean Derome respire la musique, et pas seulement à travers ses flûtes et saxos. Il est étonnant, lorsqu’on connaît un peu son travail, d’apprendre qu’il est le fruit d’une vocation tardive. Ce n’est que vers 14 ans qu’il commence à s’intéresser à la flûte à bec, mais la piqûre est aussi soudaine que puissante. «Ça a commencé tout d’un coup, et à partir de là, je jouais de la flûte à bec sans arrêt, à l’école, en regardant la télé, etc. Ça devenait insupportable à la maison, et je devais me réfugier au sous-sol…» Parallèlement, il démonte le vieux piano donné par un voisin, joue directement dans les cordes comme s’il s’agissait d’une harpe, et embrigade son frère et ses trois soeurs dans des expériences musicales qu’il enregistre sur un magnétophone Uher (à quatre vitesses). Il n’a pourtant pratiquement jamais eu de cours de musique. «J’ai eu un cours de musique en sixième année, au primaire; il était donné par un professeur d’histoire qui a réussi le prodige de donner son cours durant un an sans nous faire entendre une seule pièce de musique. Ça m’ennuyait encore plus que le catéchisme… Cette musique sur papier ne semblait s’attacher à aucune réalité acoustique.» De la flûte à bec, il passe à la traversière. «J’improvisais sans arrêt, mais je ne savais pas lire. Le professeur de musique de l’école a accepté, en secondaire 4, de me donner des cours de rattrapage, sur l’heure de dîner, pour que je puisse envisager de m’inscrire en flûte au cégep.» Avant même d’y entrer, il jouait déjà dans le groupe du pianiste Pierre St-Jak. Il devra suivre des cours d’été pour parfaire ses connaissances théoriques. «Je passais mes journées à dévorer de l’information sur la musique, j’étais survolté!» Au bout de deux ans, soliste dans l’orchestre du cégep, c’est lui qui donnera ces cours aux nouveaux arrivants… Vient ensuite le conservatoire et, parallèlement, une double vie avec l’Ensemble de musique improvisée de Montréal et le groupe Nébu. «On nous décourageait au conservatoire de faire de la musique populaire parce que ça allait “briser notre technique”; ces années-là, j’ai participé à des centaines de concerts de jazz et de musique improvisée…» On le voit aussi bientôt au sein d’ensembles de musique ancienne. «J’ai éventuellement réalisé que Mozart n’avait peut-être pas besoin de moi, et que je devais plutôt m’occuper de ce qui pouvait se faire aujourd’hui.» À 29 ans, Jean Derome adopte le saxophone, qui deviendra son instrument de prédilection.

En 1982, il fondait avec André Duchesne, René Lussier et Robert Marcel Lepage l’étiquette de disques Ambiances Magnétiques, dont le noyau de base grossira rapidement et qui deviendra l’incontournable porte-étendard de la musique actuelle à la québécoise. Le catalogue de Jean Derome compte aujourd’hui six enregistrements sous son propre nom, mais de nombreux autres avec son groupe Jean Derome et les Dangereux Zhoms, en duo (Les Granules, Nous perçons les oreilles) ou avec diverses formations, et on le retrouve aussi comme participant sur plus de 60 autres enregistrements avec une multitude de collaborateurs.

La série des Mercredimusics, organisée par Lori Freedman, Joane Hétu et Jean Derome, qui présente des concerts de musique improvisée, reprendra du 10 octobre au 12 décembre à la Casa Obscura. On entendra la musique de Jean Derome interprétée par 10 musiciens, en décembre, pour célébrer le 25e anniversaire des Productions Traquen’art, et on aura au même moment un nouveau disque des Dangereux Zhoms. Les 3 et 4 octobre Derome sera en trio avec Normand Guilbeault et Pierre Tanguay au Upstairs Jazz Club.

Multiinstrumentiste débridé, jazzman virtuose, compositeur actualiste et champion de l’impro sans filet, Jean Derome respire la musique, et pas seulement à travers ses flûtes et saxos.

Biography

Dave Lynch, AllMusic, June 1, 2007

Quebec’s circusy big band Fanfare Pourpour have their roots in a number of musical and artistic groupings dating back to the mid-’70s through the early ‘80s, including L’Enfant Fort, a Saturday-afternoon Montréal street band; the Pouet Pouet Band, which incorporated theatrical and cabaret elements into their mix; and Montréal Transport Limité, an underground cabaret and progressive pop group. The musicians all went their separate ways until the summer of 1995, when their love of playing and performing brought them together as the Fanfare Pourpour. Their street band attitude gives the Fanfare Pourpour a ramshackle charm, and their open and friendly embrace has seemingly welcomed to the fold any friend or family member who can toot on a horn or whack a caisse claire, as long as the proper spirit is maintained. Since the band’s “formal” founding in 1995, however, the Fanfare have grown into a tight and formidable outfit, with no diminution of the raucous spirit that has always been central to their, well, raison d’être.The band’s first album, released in 1999 on their Monsieur Fauteux m’entendez-vous? label, was entitled Tout le monde — the CD featured an 11-piece core ensemble, notably featuring Montréal singer/accordionist Lou Babin, supplemented by a handful of high-profile guest musicians from Quebec’s jazz and musique actuelle scenes on selected tracks, including saxophonist Jean Derome and guitarist René Lussier. On follow-up CD Le Bal from 2004, the group’s ranks had swelled to 15 with an additional six guest musicians scattered here and there; by now Derome had taken on musical direction responsibilities and penned five of the album’s 16 tracks. On these two releases the ensemble members proved highly capable on practically any and every musical instrument imaginable, including accordion, clarinet, saxophones, violin, flute, guitar, banjo, trumpet, euphonium, sousaphone, harmonica, darbouka, bass, drums, and percussion, playing exuberant music that blended brass band and New Orleans classic jazz traditions with elements of Québécois folk and avant-garde musics.In 2004 Swedish composer, accordionist, and keyboardist Lars Hollmer (Samla Mammas Manna, Accordion Tribe) was invited to Quebec to appear with the Fanfare Pourpour at the Festival International de Musique Incroyable, and this successful encounter was followed up with additional rehearsals and a second festival appearance at the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in 2005. The following year Hollmer was back in Quebec with the Fanfare yet again, this time to record the album Karusell Musik in a Montréal studio. By now it would appear that the distinction between full-fledged Fanfare bandmembers and invited guests had been erased, and the 19-piece ensemble supporting Hollmer included such notable Montréal and Quebec artists as Babin; other longstanding Fanfare members such as violinist Guido Del Fabbro and trumpeter Némo Venba (also members of avant-proggers Rouge Ciel), guitarists Luc Proulx and Roy Hübler, saxophonists Claude Vendette and Stéphane Ménard, clarinetist Pierre Emmanuel Poizat, and euphonium player Christine Lajeunesse; musical director/orchestrator/multi-instrumentalist Derome, bassist Normand Guilbeault, and percussionist Pierre Tanguay from the swinging Trio DGT and numerous other jazz/musique actuelle projects; sousaphonist Jean Sabourin from the impossibly tight brass band L’Orkestre des Pas Perdus; and violinist Marie-Soleil Bélanger, former member of the long-lived and ever-challenging Miriodor. So when it came to negotiating Hollmer’s sometimes tricky rhythms, emphatic backbeats, and multi-layered arrangements with the proper balance of roughness and precision, it would prove hard to top the Fanfare Pourpour. Karusell Musik was released in March 2007, with a CD launch concert by Hollmer and the band held that month at Montréal’s Lion d’Or.

Horn of Plenty

Mike Chamberlain, Signal to Noise, no. 44, March 1, 2007

Jean Derome is one of the busiest saxophonists in Quebec, performing a diverse range of creativive musics alongside Montréal’s finest improvisers as a founder of the Ambiances Magnetiques collective. […]

He likes to listen to early Duke Ellington recordings when he’s relaxing at home.

En bref - Escale artistique au Vieux-Port

Le Devoir, September 23, 2005

Demain et dimanche, la deuxième édition des Escales improbables prend d’assaut le quai King Edward du Vieux-Port de Montréal.

L’événement éclectique conjugue cette année autant de disciplines diverses que le théâtre de marionnettes, le chant lyrique, le cinéma et surtout la musique. Des musiciens-performeurs interprètent des œuvres du compositeur Michel Smith à partir de machines-instruments ambulants. Nicolas Brault fait tomber des baleines du ciel dans un film-conte animé. Jean Derome et SuperMusique proposent une expédition de canot-camping allégorique le long d’une rivière imaginaire. Les côtes gaspésienne et italienne se croisent dans Cargo, théâtre d’image et de marionnettes. On découvre ces performances extravagantes et audacieuses en déambulant au bord du fleuve, comme une invitation au voyage.

Carden Street’s Montréal Invasion

Mark Miller, The Globe and Mail, September 6, 2005

It’s the proverbial tale of two cities at the Guelph Jazz Festival this year. This modest but always visionary event, which begins its 12th season tomorrow, honours Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians on the occasion of its 40th anniversary and acknowledges Montréal’s vibrant musique actuelle scene, now into its third decade.

The Americans, of course, will get most of the attention, culminating Saturday night when the lately reconstituted and still legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago performs at the River Run Centre. But the Québécois, with their up-to-the-moment mix-and-match of ideas from the jazz, rock, pop and classical avant-garde, should not be overlooked.

Some 50 Montréal musicians will have appeared in this Southwestern Ontario university town before the festival concludes on Sunday. One of their number, saxophonist and flutist Jean Derome, likens them collectively to “a tribe of Indians,” with the important qualification that “the chief changes all the time.”

It is, in other words, a highly collaborative and co-operative community. Derome estimates its representation in Guelph this year to be “more than half of what’s happening in Montréal,” where, he notes rather provocatively, “maybe there are even more groups than there are musicians.”

As that suggests, many of the players do double, triple and quadruple duty in each other’s bands.

Indeed, ask Derome about the number of groups to which he himself is a party, either as leader or band member. “Now, not too many,” he responds mildly, in a telephone interview from his home in Montréal’s Plateau neighbourhood. “The active ones -- around 10 or 12. Less than usual.”

Derome, a stout yet soft-spoken fellow just turned 50, has been a pivotal figure in Montréal’s left-of-centre musical circles since the mid-1970s, predating the advent of musique actuelle as a catch-all category for the city’s funky, largely Francophone avant-garde. His activities, well documented on CD by the Ambiances Magnétiques label that he and others established in 1983, are remarkable for both the breadth of music and the amount of sheer hard work that they represent.

One of those aforementioned 10 or 12 bands of the moment is Évidence, whose raison d’être for more than 20 years has been the music of Thelonious Monk. The trio -- Derome, bassist Pierre Cartier and drummer Pierre Tanguay -- will appear on Friday at the Guelph Youth Music Centre.

Another is the Fanfare Pourpour, a street band that is scheduled on Saturday afternoon to lead a parade along Wyndham Street and then give a free concert of waltzes and other traditional European music at the festival’s Carden Street tent. There can be as many as 20 musicians in the Fanfare, which often performs in Montréal for social or political causes.

Derome calls it a “very beautiful, utopian group,” noting that it is run by two of its members, guitarist Luc Proulx and singer-accordionist Lou Babin, as if it were a family rather than a business. “They decided I was artistic director,” he admits rather uncomfortably, referring to the Fanfare’s otherwise wholly egalitarian membership. “I don’t know about that.”

A third band of those 10 or 12 is the Pierre Cartier -led sextet that will offer the bassist’s classically informed, jazz-song settings of several Québécois poems on Thursday night at Mitchell Hall. A fourth is guitarist Rainer Wiens’s sextet Follow Follow, whose African-derived rhythms will rock the Carden Street tent on Saturday afternoon. That’s an impressive range of musical idioms for one musician to embrace in just three days, and it still scarcely touches on Derome’s work in free improvisation as heard last ear at Guelph in the form of Nous perçons les oreilles (We Pierce Ears), a duo with his wife, the singer and saxophonist Joane Hétu.

So what makes Jean, um, blow?

He harks back to his earliest experience as a musician. “The first time you play music,” he suggests, “there’s something there that will always be your way of being a musician. The rest is just learning how to do it, how to say it, how to be more accurate each time you play. But even in the ’nest,’ everything is already there.”

And Derome’s “way” of being a musician? “First of all, I try to approach music with an open mind. I think that music can be many things. I try to be aware of different cultures, different eras, different styles -- and not just as if they’re different clothes that you can wear. I’m always surprised to see that some musicians treat a style of music with disrespect, like a symphony musician who laughs at mariachi musicians, for example. You know, there’s something in the triplet ’swing’ that a mariachi band has that no symphony musician can play.”

Not to mention the triplet swing of Thelonious Monk -- whose compositional trickery continues to tease and taunt even the wisest of jazz musicians. Derome, however, heard something quite basic when he first encountered the American pianist’s music. “It was really open; there was space for me to learn. It’s like Johann Sebastian Bach’s music: There’s something that’s… well, I wouldn’t say neutral… but there’s not so much dramatic ego -- the way there is in [Charles] Mingus’s music. For a long time I felt you couldn’t play Mingus’s music if you were not Mingus, it was so personal.”

Rest assured, Derome knows his Bach and he knows his Mingus. Years ago, he studied the classics at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal; lately, he has come to terms with Mingus as a member of the Normand Guilbeault Ensemble, which recently released its second CD devoted to the American bassist’s music.

“In Monk,” Derome continues, “the tunes are like puzzles. There’s always something. It’s like having a rock outside your house and each time you go by, you stub your toe on it; each time you arrive at bar seven, second beat, there’s a strange note. So you have to be very aware. It’s always very exciting to play and it doesn’t let you just show off your technique; you have to think about the pieces and find a specific feeling for each one.”

In the end, Monk, Bach, Mingus, waltzes, African grooves, free improvisation and mariachi music are all, in Derome’s eyes, simply “different facets of the same diamond.” Accordingly, it’s only right that he should add on his own behalf, “Sometimes maybe I’m a bit of a chameleon and I change, depending on the context. But I think, deeply inside, it’s always the same musician.”

“The first time you play music,” he suggests, “there’s something there that will always be your way of being a musician. The rest is just learning how to do it, how to say it, how to be more accurate each time you play. But even in the ’nest,’ everything is already there.”

By continuing browsing our site, you agree to the use of cookies, which allow audience analytics.