Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 8, No. 2, 2009

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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
  Contributing Editors
Bernard Dubé
David Solway
Robert Rotondo
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Emanuel Pordes
Diane Gordon
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Marcel Dubois
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
Provost & Lachapelle
Kevin Breit
Sophie Milman
Annie Poulain
Badi Assad
Donato & Bouchard
Ingrid Jensen
John Roney
Russell Malone
David Binney
Kurt Rosenwinkel
Mimi Fox
Voo Doo Scat
Coral Egan
Martin Taylor
Jordon Officer
Melody Gardot
Jean Vanasse

Montreal Guitarmania 2008 (Martin Taylor, D. Ross, J. Officer etc
2008 Jazz en Rafale Festival (Montreal) - Mar. 27th - April 5th -- Tél. 514-490-9613 ext-101 (featuring David Binney)
Montreal Jazz Festival 2006 Montreal Guitar Show 2008







Piano Keyboard


by Robert J. Lewis

Featured artist: YVES LÉVEILLÉ
Yves Léveillé -  Photo © Marcel Dubois

Let it be said that Yves Léveillé is a jazz composer who loves melody. His music represents a persuasive alternative to what many don’t like in jazz: virtuosos whose end-game is to stuff as many notes as possible into the smallest of intervals, who would rather play off than play up to the concept, who as a matter of course short shrift composition and show a disdain for anything that resembles conventional melody.

Yves Léveillé and his Sextet don’t bring the usual emphasis to soloing in their live performances. The introductory themes to his compositions are refreshingly elaborate and complex, featuring a wholesome dynamic range that allows the music to pause on a dime or enjoy a moment of silence. The intros are compositions in their own right, often piloted by the trumpet and sax creatively harmonized and distinctly voiced.

In the horn arrangements that serve as the emotive scaffolding for much of the music, it’s hard to resist the eddies and swells of sound and their transcendent effects on music that might otherwise wear a bit thin. Soho (Effendi), Léveillé’s latest album, features a highly original use of horns that are sometimes made to piggy back over each other, with one instrument falling back, the other thrusting forward, leaving the listener feeling he has just emerged from a long tribulation -- so much so that when the instruments finally resolve and get into snyc, it takes the breath away. Léveillé’s mature handling of dissonance serves that same conceptual end-game where in the creative clash of notes and their very deliberate weightings, we are introduced to feelings and states of mind thoroughly grounded in life experience.

As to Léveillé’s compositions, like seeds in their embryonic state, they often begin as the least category of sound -- a smattering of single notes or a simple chord progression that hasn’t found its wings. The composer then dedicates himself to the hard work of teasing out what is there in potentia and developing themes and subplots that reveal the music’s depth and plenitude. The very satisfying result can be as varied as the gamut of experience itself: alternatively joyous, meditative, energizing, subdued, where the act of creation is validated by the effort that has been shared with a group of sympathetic musicians. For those who made the effort to catch the Yves Léveillé Sextet at The Savoy, sponsored by the Jazz All Year Round Series as part of the Montreal Jazz Festival, they were treated to an evening full of pleasant surprises.

If Léveillé is not at ease on the ivories as let’s say an Oscar Peterson or Oliver Jones, he’s a generous, dignified band leader whose accompaniment is infectiously note perfect, who allows his musicians space enough to reveal their special relationship with the music. And when he gets together with New Yorker Eri Yamamoto, his kindred spirit on the piano, sparks fly because they are both on the same creative and compositional wavelength.

Suffice to say, Yves Léveillé and his Sextet make the case that taking care of business in jazz means taking care of composition, and the rest will take care of itself. Léveillé’s much deserved star is rising, and is finally being sighted beyond the borders of Canada.

Photo © Marcel Dubois



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