Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 4, No. 6, 2005

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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
  Contributing Editors
Bernard Dubé
Phil Nixon
Robert Rotondo
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Emanuel Pordes
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Emanuel Pordes
  Past Jazz Contributors

Tommy Emmanuel
John Stetch
Susie Arioli
Coral Egan
Diana Krall
Stacey Kent
Carol Welsman
Aldo Romano
Denzal Sinclaire
Madeleine Peyroux
Bireli Lagrene
Sonido Isleño

Montreal Jazz Festival 2005







Piano Keyboard


by Robert J. Lewis

Featured artists: SYLVAIN PROVOST &

© Marcel Dubois of Sylvain Provost

Is it jazz, classical, elaborate folk, or yet another hybrid music? A banal question bettered by: What makes the music of guitarist Sylvain Provost and bassist Norman Lachapelle unique and enduring? Is it the inevitable outcome of their extraordinary rapport that notes alone cannot explain – the two are cousins who have been playing together since they were kids -- or is it their original material that separates the wheat from the chaff, the noteworthy composer from the accomplished musician?

Listeners who are sufficiently confident in their judgments not to allow the elite categories of music determine their tastes (it’s not classical, it’s not jazz, therefore I don’t like it), won’t give a flying F major that the song book of Provost and Lachapelle doesn’t conform to a particular genre. The music this twosome have been quietly writing and performing together since 1996 – much of it with internationally esteemed drummer Claude Brochu -- including their most recent CD Live au Va-et-Vient -- appeals to both the adventuresome and sophisticated ear.

In getting from A to Z and back again, the Provost/Lachapelle songbook builds and wends its way through complex harmonic structures, explores and makes familiar the outer reaches of ideas still growing, and after a deviation or two, digs in for the long haul before finally arriving home, leaving the listener with a sense of having discovered something unexpected that begs to be discovered again. No surprise that, for the 2005 version of the world renowned Montreal Jazz Festival, their concert sold out well in advance.

Among purist who regard every music as a test of their superior ear, and the briefest lapse into melody as infra dig -- beneath one’s intelligence -- the music of Provost and Lachapelle will disappoint, for they are irrepressibly and unapologetically lyrical. All their compositions feature strong melody while leaving considerable room for improvisation.

Provost’s guitar plucks out sounds that mimic the wind or the fledgling flutter of wings which, when melded with Lachapelle’s velvet-smooth, liquid bass, results in an intimate dialogue like no other. Together, they make the case that music is the purest of the arts, that in the hands of its ablest it represents what is best in us, and that the special community engendered by making-music-with-others is just as important as the music itself.

Provost and Lachapelle are among the best at what they do. Their composing, playing and remarkable complicity ennoble the listener as much as the performer. For these reasons and more, they are among the sonic radiances that are turning Montreal into one the great music wonders of the world.

Provost and Lachapelle record on the Effendi label.

Listen to the duo perform the beautiful "Chemin d'Ivoire" HERE.



John Coltrane
Miles Davis
Thelonius Monk
Charlie Mingus
Oscar Peterson
Charlie Parker
Dizzy Gillespie
Wes Montgomery
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