This concert at the 2001 Victoriaville festival brought together two of Quebec’s finest, Jean Derome (reeds) and Pierre Tanguay (drums), with two of France’s, Louis Sclavis (reeds) and Brano Chevillon (bass). This “summit” meeting came with high expectations; the ensuing performance lived up to them. The energy in the room was right, and afterward, Sclavis and Derome were asked if they would release a recording of the concert. Sclavis answered laconically that it depended what the tape actually sounded like.
What the tape sounds like is four very fine musicians in synch with one another. Derome and Sclavis can be harsh and propulsive, or lyrical, or edgy, as the situations demands (five of the six compositions are by Derome, the other by Sclavis). Tanguay can lock into a groove or provide skittenng bursts of color, and Chevillon is a monster bassist who coaxes all manner of sound out of his instrument. Chevillon’s work on Le baiser and Sclavis’s Suite pour un bal is otherworldly. His distorted, bowed line on the latter adds a sense of impending doom that takes the music to a whole other dimension.
I’ll go so far as to say that the performance was better than I had remembered.