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Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 1192, July 15, 2019

Was Derome’s latest Sudoku pour pygmées more of a rock-based album if you want, this time it is all about jazz. Not with compositions by his hand, but nine compositions written by Steve Lacy and selected by Derome. Lacy, who died in 2004, deeply influenced Derome during his career. The works are performed by his trio, consisting also of Normand Guilbeault (double bass) and Pierre Tanguay (drums). The trio debuted in 2004 with work with compositions by Derome. On later releases, they started to dig into jazz history and interpreted works by Ellington, Mengelberg, Konitz, Dolphy, a.o. But this time as said a release completely dedicated to one composer: Karen Young and Alexandre Grogg, who both have a prominent role on this recording, assist them. Young is a singer, composer and arranger from Quebec, singing in contexts of classical, world as well as jazz. Grogg, also from Quebec, studied improvisation, worked with Normand Guilbeault, Michel Côté and co-leads the quintet Ensemble en pièces. They concentrate on nine compositions by Lacy, or to be more precise songs by Lacy, he composed that for his wife and musical companion/vocalist Irene Aebi. Lacy is known most of all for his work as a free improviser on alto sax, performer and short-time collaborator of Monk, but what I discover now is that Lacy was also a composer of solid and beautiful melodic material, literally hundreds of songs. So I guess it took a while for Derome to select a few of them for his project. Songs that have lyrics written by Lao Tzu, Thomas Gainsborough, Herman Melville and Brion Gysin. The works are performed with verve and swing by the musicians, and the vocals by Young are great. This is music is very lively and breaths.

The works are performed with verve and swing by the musicians, and the vocals by Young are great. This music is very lively.

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