The New & Avant-garde Music Store



Ken Waxman, Jazz Word, July 24, 2019
Thursday, July 25, 2019 Press

Undoubtedly one of the most successful encounters Québécois have had with a British citizen since 1759, this live CD captures the close musical cooperation among London-based tenor and soprano saxophonist John Butcher, Montréal-based bass clarinetist Philippe Lauzier and electric bassist Éric Normand from Rimouski. With Lauzier and Normand part of a contingent of forward-looking local players who have forged international connections, How Does This Happen’s two five-part instant compositions were recorded live during concerts in Montréal and Ottawa. Closely connected minimalist improvisations which have seen Butcher playing with numerous fellow sound explorers in Europe, North America and Asia, many of the tracks depend on the two reed players floating barely-there vibrations, while Normand’s bass and object shuffling provide the balancing fulcrum on which tones balance while peeping or trilling. While the majority of reed tones divide into smaller and smaller units as they’re pushed forward, multiphonic explosions are prominent at points as well. Case in point is En conséquence III, where strained reed puffs and nearly inaudible bass thumps soon evolve into regular rumbles as an electronic-tinged continuum, allowing full reign to upwards twisting, irregular vibrations from both saxophone and clarinet. The climatic En conséquence V intensifies these brief reflective motifs into harsher reed honks and band saw-like bass string buzzing into more pressurized yet sonically descriptive narrative. Performed with the same intensity that introduces snarling chalameau lowing, bird-like trills and an episode where it appears that the rolling friction from a gran cassa has replaced expected electric bass reverberations, Par irruption continues this close communion. While cleverly timed tongue slaps and coloratura drones emanate from both reedists, this resulting contrapuntal challenge is somewhat lessened by passages of almost sweet interface between the two. That the amiable sequence which is part of Par irruption IV is actually a prelude to subsequent tongue stops and line deconstruction only underlines the trio’s versatility. Finally that set is completed by thinner, quieter and more fractured reed vibrations plus bass rumbles proving that the group has achieved its goals within its self-defined parameters. This is another high-quality CD confirming Butcher’s adaptability and showing how Canadian players can hold their own in any international situation.

Undoubtedly one of the most successful encounters Québécois have had with a British citizen since 1759


Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 1192, July 15, 2019
Thursday, July 25, 2019 Press

This orchestra was started in 1992 on the initiative of Montréal-based composer, double bassist and bandleader Nicolai Caloia. He is into improvised as well as composed music and the combination of both, for small and very big line-ups. With his big-sized Ratchet Orchestra, he wants to explore improvised ‘chamber jazz’. For the Hemlock project in 2012 over 30 performers were part of the orchestra. For Coco Swirl he chooses for a smaller crew. But with following 19 musicians we can still speak of an ensemble of big band proportions: Lori Freedman (clarinets), Jean Derome (flutes, baritone saxophone), Yves Charuest (alto saxophone), Aaron Leaney (tenor saxophone), Jason Sharp (bass saxophone), Ellwood Epps (trumpet), Craig Pedersen (trumpet), Scott Thomson (trombone), Jacques Gravel (contrabass trombone), Julie Richard (tuba), Joshua Zubot (violin), James Annett (viola), Jean René (viola), Guillaume Dostaler (piano), Ken Doolittle (percussion), Isaiah Ceccarelli (drum set) and Nicolas Caloia (double bass, conductor). So we are in the company of some very pronounced and experienced players who bring in a lot of ideas and experience and make this a very lively and enjoyable recording. Caloia delivered the compositions. The last one, Before is After, is a suite in six parts. Term ‘improvised chamber jazz’, describes very well what he is aiming for. Jazz and improvisation make an organic whole with features of academic composed music. His intelligent compositions are of fascinating complexity and relevance. They make up an ideal starting point for excellent and expressive improvising. Many intriguing moments pass by in this eclectic universe that is bursting of musical ideas. The instrumentation is very diverse and colourful assuring fine contrasts like the one in Blood between the blowers and the experimental electric guitar played by Shalabi. This is more than an excellent release in a transparent recording.

This is more than an excellent release in a transparent recording.


Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 1191, July 8, 2019
Thursday, July 25, 2019 Press

Monicker is Arthur Bull (guitarist), Scott Thomson (trombone) and Roger Turner (drums). Veteran Bull originates from the Toronto scene. In the 70s and 80s, he was a member of the Toronto-based CCMC and worked with Michael Snow, vocalist Paul Dutton and John Oswald and many others. In 1990 he moved to a small village in Nova Scotia, and music was no longer his main activity. Although it was here that he worked with another guitarist, Daniel Heikalo, resulting in two beautiful CDs by from this sparsely documented performer: Dérapages à cordes (2000) and Concentrés et amalgames (2006). In contrast veteran UK drummer and improviser, Roger Turner is very well documented on an uncountable amount of releases documenting his many collaborations (Annette Peacock, Tim Hodgkinson, Otomo Yoshihide, etc, etc,). Like Bull, composer and trombonist Scott Thomson is from Toronto. He is a creative force behind the Montréal-Toronto Art Orchestra playing Roscoe Mitchell’s music. Both Turner and Bull play as a duo since 2002, meeting meanwhile in other ad hoc projects. They invited Thomson during the Halifax residency in 2017, and Monicker was born. As Monicker, they toured Eastern Canada and recorded this debut. Six of their improvisations made it to this release, underlining they make a very flexible and tight unit. Their improvisations pass by very fluently and intensively at a considerable speed and always very focused. Very manoeuvrable and vivid interactions, built from small gestures and movements by all three players. A joy!

Very manoeuvrable and vivid interactions, built from small gestures and movements by all three players. A joy!


Joël Pagier, Revue & Corrigée, no. 120, June 1, 2019
Monday, July 15, 2019 Press

HMZ demeure la discrétion même et son élégance réside toujours dans la capacité de ses membres à s’immerger dans un son d’ensemble assez reconnaissable pour en tenir lieu de signature.


Joël Pagier, Revue & Corrigée, no. 120, June 1, 2019
Thursday, July 11, 2019 Press

Et c’est de ce jeu de miroirs inversés que naît toute l’activité du trio, qui n’essaie pas de nous mentir en simulant une osmose originelle, mais préfère inventer un langage propre adapté à la situation.

Le risque selon Jean Derome

Serge Truffaut, Le Devoir, June 22, 2019
Saturday, June 22, 2019 Press

Le trio que forme depuis une vingtaine d’années le saxophoniste, flûtiste, arrangeur et compositeur Jean Derome avec le contrebassiste Normand Guilbeault et le batteur Pierre Tanguay est sans l’ombre d’un doute l’une des formations les plus passionnantes du continent. Il en est ainsi parce que Derome n’a pas son pareil pour jongler avec le risque avec doigté. À preuve, son nouvel album, intitulé Somebody Special — 9 chansons de Steve Lacy, sur Ambiances magnétiques. Avant de poursuivre, soulignons que les 22 et 29 juin, ce trio se produira au Cheval blanc.

Avec ce Somebody Special, on vous assure que le risque pris par nos amis était au diapason de «l’énorme, pesant, très lourd». Car cet album n’est pas seulement musical, il est également littéraire. Très littéraire même. Il se trouve, comme disait l’autre, qu’en fait de chansons, Lacy avait emprunté des poèmes et des textes à des auteurs variés, mais surtout à Brion Gysin, avec lequel il se produisit d’ailleurs régulièrement et enregistra même un disque.

De citoyenneté canadienne, le peintre et poète Gysin a beaucoup étudié et vécu, pour faire vraiment court, à Paris. Il fut un des surréalistes avant qu’André Breton n’exerce à son endroit sa personnalité de père Fouettard en le renvoyant du groupe comme il l’avait fait avec Raymond Queneau. Qu’importe. Après eux, Gysin fut une des figures de proue des beatniks, admiré notamment par William Burroughs, pour le hier, et John Zorn, pour l’aujourd’hui. Bien.

Dans le volumineux catalogue de chansons confectionnées par Lacy — environ 500, précise Derome —, le trio en a choisi trois dont Gysin a écrit les textes, un de Herman Melville (Yes!), un de Lao-Tseu, un de Thomas Gainsborough, un de Po Kiu-yi et enfin un de Judith Malina. On l’aura compris, cet album propose une façade ONU.

Pour mener à bien son aventure, Derome a «exploité» les talents de la chanteuse Karen Young et du pianiste Alexandre Grogg. La clarté d’expression de la première, le dynamisme et l’attention du second, combinés au brio et à l’intensité de Guilbeault, au savoir-faire en multiples nuances de Tanguay, sans oublier l’ingéniosité de Derome, font de cet album… quelque chose!

C’est ce qu’on se dit, après écoute: «C’est quelque chose, cet album.» Il est à l’image du titre: spécial. Car on a l’impression que Derome et ses camardes sont passés entre les mailles ou les filets, c’est au choix. Parfois, on a le sentiment que le saxophoniste a fait de l’exploration sonore entre Eric Dolphy et Jackie McLean.

Parfois, on a l’impression que l’ensemble au complet évolue dans un territoire voisin d’Alban Berg d’un côté, de jazz de stricte obédience de l’autre. En fait, ce que cet album confirme, ou plutôt ce qu’il a de passionnant, est à mettre sur le compte de la surprise. À l’évidence, chacun des protagonistes cultive une inclination prononcée pour la curiosité.

Depuis le temps que Derome, Guilbeaut et Tanguay nous régalent, ils pourraient fort bien verser dans la mortifère gestion du fonds de commerce. Au lieu de ça, ils s’appliquent à nous étonner dans le sens le plus noble de ce verbe. C’est énorme.

… ils s’appliquent à nous étonner dans le sens le plus noble de ce verbe.

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