BLG, Downtown Music Gallery, June 1, 2007

Jean Derome is one the most gifted, diverse and distinctive saxists that Canada has produced. Jean has about two dozen superb discs out on the Ambiances Magnétiques label, which cover a wealth of influences and genres: jazz, progressive, rock, folk and a good amount of humor. He has a great trio called Évidence that only cover Thelonious Monk with an electric bassist. Their set at Guelph this year was super. Trio Derome Guilbeault Tanguay is Jean’s other jazz trio with two other longtime cohorts, contrabassist Normand Guilbeault and drummer, Pierre Tanguay, both masters in their own right. This is their second disc and this is mainly jazz standards. They cover the likes of Ellington, Sonny Clark, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Fats Waller as well as more contemporary tunes by Misha Mengelberg and Lee Konitz. Check out their inspired version of Duke’s Jump for Joy. Here done on baritone sax, wow, it does swing hard! There is something truly joyous about this trio, they sound like they love this music, these tunes and are having a wonderful timing doing it! Jean’s tone on alto sax is just so soulful and warm that I find it quite touching, stirring and directly from his heart to us. Oh yeah! I really dig their version of Sonny Clark’s Sonny’s Crib, with Jean squeezing off those quick boppin’ lines effortlessly and both Normand and Pierre trading lines with joyful delight. Even Jean’s sly singing on Five O’ Clock Whistle has an infectious quality to it. Jean Derome plays one incredible solo after another, while the rhythm team plays inventively throughout, also tossing off a number of superb solos as well. I never knew there were lyrics to Fats Waller’s Jitterbug Waltz, thanks Jean for clueing us in and also for that fabulous flute solo. A complete joyride from beginning to the very end, especially if you dig many of these old songs.

A complete joyride from beginning to the very end, especially if you dig many of these old songs.