La boutique des nouvelles musiques


Michael Rosenstein, Cadence, no 28:3, 1 mars 2002

Montréal-based reed player Jean Derome and drummer Pierre Tanguay have their fingers in so many projects it is hard to keep track ot them all. They jump from film scores to music for dance programs; from theatrical game pieces to politicized compositions; from Monk tributes to rock-tinged throw-downs. Rather than seeming disjointed or fractured, in their musical world all of these elements jostle up against each other with abandon. This live duet concert captures the two in a set that flows from free Jazz to skewed folk and hits all points in between. Though the playing can be fierce and frenzied, a sense of playful hijinks is never too far away. The title tune alone unfolds with the variety of many whole CDs. Things start out with a torrid burst of tenor flurries over churning drums steeped in the free Jazz tradition, morphs into a skewed duet of birdcalls and hand percussion, slides into a funky, honking R&B vamp and ends up with Derome’s fife dancing a twittering jig over Tanguay’s pattering percussion. In many of Derome’s larger, more tightly composed projects, it is easy to lose track of what a strong reed player he is, but here, his playing is laid bare. He assuredly moves from muscular free blowing to melodic sections full of lilting beauty to antic cavorting with a fluid sense of structural flow. Tanguay is the perfect sparring partner matching Derome’s energy and wit with split-second timing and response. The two can flip free skronk scat duets where their off-the-wall vocals trade percussive riffs like drunken tabla players and then jump to a skewed reading of Monk’s Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are that staggers and struts with a joyful energy. Though it seems like things can fall apart into manic mayhem at any moment, the two always maintain a dramatic animation that propels the improvisations along right up until their final duet on Jew’s Harps. There is no doubt that being at this concert would have been a night of captivating entertainment but the release does a noble job of capturing the proceedings for those of us who couldn’t make it.

… captivating entertainment…

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