[…] For me and most of my media bredren and sistren, expectations are raised when they see an envolope in the mail from a favourite label. Ambiances Magnétiques has gotten heavy play on the Abstract Index radio show. They’ve really surprised me over the last few years as they continue break new ground with very diverse releases, and I have to admit I’m more enthusiastic with what they’re putting out these days that a few years ago. The surprises continue with stalwart AM participant’s Michel F Côté’s new disc, (Juste) Claudette. This is one of the ballsiest jazz records to come out of Canada in years, with the possible exception of last year’s ZMF Trio disc. There’s a whole lot of soul inside this music, though it’s twisted in all kinds of horrible ways. From the get-go, Côté’s drumming is unashamedly groove-oriented, though very roughly so. Jesse Levine’s Sun Ra-like organ parts guarantees that outer spaceways are nearer than you think. Alexandre St-Onge’s bass plays off the lower range of the organ remarkably well. Bernard Falaise’s guitar work often reminds me of Derek Bailey’s work on Mirakle (played 2 weeks ago) - nonlinear but still falling in all the right places. With processed pocket trumpet thrown into the mix, Miles Davis and Jon Hassell comparisons are inevitable, though this sole brass influence provides sonic difference to the rest of the band. Although these songs are typically less than four minutes, sometimes they descend into nondescript though aggressive bluesy shuffles, taking a half point away from this record’s overall score. Yup, Ambiances Magnétiques surprised me again - I’m surprised these players had this record in them, and that it would come out on this label.