Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 538, August 9, 2006

With Ellen’s Bar guitarist Berthiaume delivers his third album for Ambiances Magnétiques. He debuted with Soshin, a free improvised record with duos with Derek Bailey and Fred Frith. His second one was also a free improvised record with some young musicians of Berthiaume’s generation. For Ellen’s Bar Berthiaume formed a trio with Pierre Tanguay on drums and Michel Donato on bass. No free improvised explorations this time, but a true jazz album. And a very nice one too. Nicely grooving from beginning to the end. Tanguay and Donato turn out to be perfect partners for Berthiaume who does some nice solowork with great control. Most pieces are the same in mood and tempo, not fast, not too slow. But always very captivating. No loose ends on this one.

Pierre Cartier also returns for his newest cd to the classic jazz period. With Jean Derome (sax and flutes), Jean René (viola), Tom Walsh (trombone), Bernard Falaise (guitar) and Pierre Tanguay (drums), Pierre Cartier (voice and bass) offers a new collection of jazz-inspired songs. As in earlier song cycles Cartier uses poems from diverse french-speaking poets. For his new album, he choose poems from Québécois poets (Michel Garneau, Gaston Miron, Pierre Perrault, Paul-Marie Lapointe), plus one by Apollinaire and another one by himself. To be more precise, for this new cycle of songs Cartier sought inspiration by jazz standards and Broadway love songs. Nevertheless his songs have a definitely french flavor, and not that typical american character of the predecessors that Cartier inspired. They are for example not so smooth, because Cartier has his very own way of placing accents in his singing style that is sometimes close to dissonance. Most ballads continue in their own slow tempo giving plenty of room for nice solowork by Derome, Walsh and the others.

… a true jazz album. And a very nice one too.