Le GGRIL is that most cumbersome of all musical monsters, the avant-garde big band. The nature of the big jazz band is to allow improvisation over tightly structured arrangements. The big band is practically the opposite of avant-garde jazz which often respect freedom of sound over tonality, structure, or even rhythm.
Le GGRIL is centered in Québec, Canada and walks a tightrope between the improvised and the structured. The band’s arsenal of imaginative players borrow as much from post-classical as from free jazz. Their personnel is changeable but the unusual assortment of saxes, clarinet, accordions, violins, guitar and percussion seems to be the norm. The free self titled album has four tracks. Tracks 1, 2, 4 are directed by alto saxophonist Jean Derome with Fire + Bebelle most closely related to jazz. Tracks 2 and 4 are quieter and makes good use of long tones and well placed silence. Derome’s direction and playing is center toward exploring sounds and environment more so than totally free improvisation.
The same can be said for track 3 which is an extended 11 minute work featuring the improvisatory trio of Les Poules. Alto saxist Joane Hétu, percussionist Danielle Palardy Roger, and samplist Diane Labrosse tends to prefer long drones with free improvisation as accent. They mix well with the larger ensemble creating a well thought out atmospheric work.
The album is available from the excellent Insubordinations netlabel in 320kbps MP3.