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Réjean Beaucage, Voir, May 1, 2019
Monday, May 6, 2019 Press

La caractéristique première du Ratchet Orchestra, ce n’est pas tant d’être un big band que d’être un groupe d’improvisateurs. Le nombre de musicien-ne-s (17 ou 18 selon les pièces) sert surtout à colorer la sonorité de l’ensemble et à produire des trames texturées. En ce sens, on est plus près d’une musique contemporaine abstraite que du jazz auquel on pourrait s’attendre de ces émules de Sun Ra. Petit who’s who de la scène de musique actuelle montréalaise, l’orchestre compte parmi ses membres Lori Freedman (clarinettes), Jean Derome (sax), Joshua Zubot (violon), Isaiah Ceccarelli (batterie) et Sam Shalabi (guitare), entre autres, ainsi que le contrebassiste Nicolas Caloia, qui en est le chef et qui compose les canevas desquels sort la musique, comme une brume diaphane.

La caractéristique première du Ratchet Orchestra, ce n’est pas tant d’être un big band que d’être un groupe d’improvisateurs.

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 1181, April 29, 2019
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 Press

Lori Freedman is a very profiled Montréal-based clarinettist, improviser and performer of contemporary composed material, by others as well by her own hand. She worked over the years with diverse composers and performers like Maurice Kagel, Joëlle Léandre, Ab Baars, etc. Excess is her latest recording and documents her solo program The Virtuosity of Excess and has Freedman performing six compositions by Richard Barrett, Brian Ferneyhough, Paul Steenhuisen, Paolo Perezzani, Raphaël Cendo and one by herself. In 2016 she toured eleven cities in North America, and I guess the recording took place afterwards. Besides bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet, freedman plays kick drum, electronics and voice. Thematically this turns is about excess: ‘With this project, I wanted to discover the beauty of the extremes, exploit them and embody them in the music’, Freedman explains. With these, she is pushing the limits of what is possible on the low clarinets. In all its virtuosity there is also pure rawness in her performance that is loaden with her emotional energy. By far the oldest composition is Time and Motion Study I composed in 1977 by New Complexity composer Brian Ferneyhough. Maybe most close the theme of excess is the opening work Interference composed by Richard Barrett in 2000. This work starts with very expressive vocals by Freedman screaming, growling and shrieking, that after a while a changed for equally growling, etc. playing of the contrabass clarinet, supplemented with some kick drum. Also, the closing work Décombres by Raphaël Cendo is a very dramatic and extravagant work for contrabass clarinet and disturbing electronic noise. Her own composition Withwhatbecomes (2016) is in contrast with the above-mentioned works in the sense that we stay more in calm and quiet regions of the contrabass clarinet, with parts that are almost of a lyrical nature.

In all its virtuosity there is also pure rawness in her performance that is loaden with her emotional energy.

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 1181, April 29, 2019
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 Press

Jean Derome, composer and improviser from Montréal is one of the most active forces in the Ambiances Magnétiques-scene, that was co-founded by him in the early 80s scene. Sudoku pour Pygmées is his most recent release in a series of uncountable releases over the decades. This one has Derome as a composer. The CD counts three compositions for a large ensemble. Composed for different occasions over a period of 20 years. The title piece was composed in 2010, 7 danses (pour «15») in 1989 and 5 pensées (pour le caoutchouc dur) in 2001. They have been re-orchestrated by Derome for an extended line up of Dangerous Zhoms: Jean Derome (flute, baritone saxophone, composer), Guillaume Dostaler (piano), Pierre Cartier (double bass), Pierre Tanguay (drum set), Jean Rene (conductor), Guido Del Fabbro (violin), Lori Freedman (bass clarinet, clarinet), Andre Leroux (tenor saxophone, clarinet), Craig Pedersen (trumpet), Julie Houle (tuba), Bernard Falaise (electric guitar) and Olivier Maranda (percussion). For the title piece, Derome took inspiration from the Sudoku puzzle, a square of 45 units that Derome divided into 5 groups of 9. He composed nine canons and created a polyphonic whole, which is a very musically complex and enjoyable work that started with playing with a non-musical game. 7 Danses (1989) is a work that plays with contrast in styles and genres. Seven short miniatures, moving between one and four minutes, are dressed in different musical styles: rock, jazz, shuffle, waltz, etc. Concluding composition 5 pensées (pour le caoutchouc dur), was originally composed for Vancouver’s Hard Rubber Orchestra in 2001, is likewise a journey through different moods en thoughts. The second part refers to Monk, the third one to Ellington. Derome is well known as an improviser and jazz musician. But it is really a joy to have him here as a composer of very well constructed, though not renewing chamber music.

Derome is well known as an improviser and jazz musician. But it is really a joy to have him here as a composer…

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