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Reviews — Improv & Avant-Garde

Alan Ranta, Exclaim!, May 3, 2011

Kudos to the L’Off Festival de Jazz de Montréal for commissioning Tremblement de fer in celebration of their tenth anniversary. Composed by Pierre Labbé, Tremblement de fer is a suite in seven parts, with each part a microcosm of classical and jazz styles. It rides a few lines that look sketchy on paper ― some that might not work if heard in isolated chunks ― but, as the cliché goes, the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts. Arranged for a 13-piece band, including woodwind and brass sections, a string quartet and a plugged-in rhythm section, the sound of Tremblement de fer never rests. It’s like Charles Mingus and Ennio Morricone wrote a film score together and had it performed by the Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra. Autochtone is as epic as Zeppelin’s Kashmir, yet bursting with more sophisticated orchestration, while La Fille et la grenouille sounds like Baby Elephant Walk stumbling into a sketchy area of New Orleans at the tail end of Mardi Gras. This is intriguing stuff from an obviously talented composer.

This is intriguing stuff from an obviously talented composer.

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