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Review

François Couture, AllMusic, 1 février 2001

Joue Free (Play Free) is a return to basics for clarinetist Robert Marcel Lepage, as he pays a very personal tribute to Jimmy Giuffre. His acolytes are experimental guitarist Bernard Falaise (of Papa Boa and Klaxon Gueule) and jazz bassist Normand Guilbeault (the Riel project). This CD presents delicate music on the border of chamber jazz and free jazz. Lepage’s clarinet soars, drawing melodies light as a feather, while Falaise weaves textures with his pedal-volume electric guitar and Guilbeault anchors it all with his jazzier approach. As free as it may be, these pieces are partly written down and constantly kept under control. The music always remains rather calm, there are no sudden outbursts of energy — but there is no need for them. The listener is quickly drawn into the mood. On Arlequinade guitar and clarinet are fused in an impromptu melody: a magical moment. Two pieces were created for films, but they are indistinguishable from the other tracks. Some might find Joue Free a bit linear or too toned-down, but this is a good occasion to hear Falaise, still under-recorded in this kind of context.

The listener is quickly drawn into the mood.

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