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Review

Ken Waxman, The WholeNote, no. 12:1, September 1, 2006

Forty years after he arrived on the scene, Michel Donato is still Montréal’s first-call jazz bassist. These CDs demonstrate why Donato, 64, who has backed everyone from chansonier Gilles Vigneault to pianist Oscar Peterson, is in such demand. […] On Ellen’s Bar, for instance, he adds his rock-solid rhythm to 11 originals otherwise featuring two players better-known for their commitment to musique actuelle: guitarist Antoine Berthiaume and drummer Pierre Tanguay. […] Here the guitarist’s supple fills and soloing lie within parameters set by Herb Ellis and Bill Frisell, giving the CD a country-ish vibe. […] Similar teamwork is apparent on the other CD, although the guitarist takes most of the solos. In this smaller setting Donato is more sensed than heard, though his oblique, sturdy piloting remains. The nub of Tanguay’s accompaniment is rim shots and ratamacues, unique additions to the guitarist’s lapidary solos. Using chiming runs, Berthiaume shines with a natural romantic bent. Prime instance of this is Nose Worthy. Sprinkled with C&W licks, the straightforward melody skirts ordinariness due to drum rolls and pops plus a walking bass line. Tough plucking from Donato rescues other tunes where the guitarist’s finger-picking threatens to move into supper club territory. […]

Berthiaume shines with a natural romantic bent.

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