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Review

Tiina Kiik, The WholeNote, no. 12:2, October 1, 2006

“Now that was good!” These are my first thoughts after listening to Pierre Cartier’s release of self-described “French love songs”. Cartier’s compositions set to Quebec poetry, his bass playing, his own lyrics, and his singing (especially the endearing way he struggles to capture some of the high notes) combine to make this musically intriguing disc fun to behold. The excellent band is comprised of some of Montréal’s finest jazz performers — Jean Derome on alto sax and flutes, Jean René on viola, Tom Walsh on trombone, Bernard Falaise on guitar and Pierre Tanguay on drums.

The seven selections have elements of both jazz and musique actuelle but also encompass a variety of musical styles. An almost Las Vegas style sentiment surfaces in Il nous aurait fallu while La chanson de Marie is almost simultaneously an Irish jig and an Eastern European dance. My favourite, Mirabeau, using a text of Guillaume Apollinaire, begins in a fugal manner, then moves more upbeat, and closer to the end almost becomes a 1970s rock anthem with its screeching guitar solo. Cartier’s vocals are the glue that holds the works together throughout.

The bilingual French and English liner notes describe Cartier’s ideas behind each piece, though my high school French leads me to wish the lyrics also had an English translation. This is a moot point however — the music would be a welcome backdrop to any drive in the country or dinner affair. I’ll leave the final words to Pierre Cartier — “And if we may say that sometimes love is blind, how could we ever imagine love being deaf?” Touché!

Now that was good!

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