Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 12, No.3, 2013

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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Bernard Dubé
  Contributing Editors
David Solway
Louis René Beres
Nancy Snipper
Farzana Hassan
Daniel Charchuk
Samuel Burd
Andrée Lafontaine
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Serge Gamache Emanuel Pordes
Diane Gordon
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Chantal Levesque Denis Beaumont
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
Jordan Officer
Melody Gardot
Jean Vanasse
Yves Léveillé
Sylvain Provost
Louciana Souza
Patricia Barber
Jill Barber
Corrine Bailey Rae
Chet Doxas
François Bourassa
Sylvain Luc
Neil Cowley
Marianne Trudel
Florence K
Terez Montcalm
Cyrus Chestnut
Tord Gustavsen
Sarah MK
Julie Lamontagne
Vincent Gagnon
2010 Montreal Guitar Show (Sylvan Luc)
2008 Jazz en Rafale Festival (Montreal) - Mar. 27th - April 5th -- Tél. 514-490-9613 ext-101 (featuring David Binney)
Montreal Jazz Festival 2010







Piano Keyboard


by Robert J. Lewis

Featured artist: JEAN FÉLIX MAILLOUX

© Chantal Levesque

As part of the on-going 2013 Montreal International Jazz Festival, bassist Jean Félix Mailloux and his long time trio Cordâme, along with special guest pianist François Bourassa, harpist Guillaume Bourque and percussionist Isaiah Ceccarelli, combined the refinement and feel of chamber music and jazz, and thoroughly delighted listeners in what deserved to be a better attended concert at l’Astral, one of Montreal’s premier music venues.

For those for whom the language of jazz is a tough nut to crack, it’s always a plus to find a group -- a portal -- that, in the spirit of dissolving borders, is able to introduce the necessary vocabulary and network of links to make jazz more comprehensible. For rockers, there are any number of jazz fusion groups to help facilitate the transition, but for aficionados of classical music, the choices are very limited which is why the original music of Jean Félix Mailloux is not only meritorious on its own but it provides a wonderful opportunity to get to know jazz more intimately without having to sacrifice melody -- the ingredient lovers of classical music are least willing to part with.

What distinguishes the playlist of Mailloux, who writes all the music, is its accessibility, owed to strong and extended melody lines and the extraordinary clarity and separation of the instruments. There were moments during the concert when the sheer beauty of the music and its accessibility were one and the same -- a privileged sphere orbiting around the listener's gratitude and delight.

In “Réunion,” a thoroughly enchanting island song that takes an congenially dark turn, it behooved me to ascertain if the solo delivered by violinist Marie Neige Lavigne was improvised or something she might play note for note on successive evenings, such was the strength of the melody, which was buoyed by a jazzed up bass line and, courtesy of Isaiah Ceccarelli, brushy percussion effects interspersed with timely rim shots.

To be always noted are those exceptional percussionists who make a point of fitting into the group dynamic instead of overwhelming it.

Pianist François Bourassa, one of Canada’s very best, who can produce chords as thick and rapturous as Rachmaninoff and is comfortable playing 12-tone, dramatically toned down his approach, and, in the instructive spirit of Cordâme’s back to basics, both in soloing and accompaniment, offered up a lyricism that was at once hummable and inventive, where every note made the case for its essential inclusion.

During the course of a career, saying more with less is a discipline and humility that must be learned and relearned and would be one of the reasons that attracts Bourassa to the structure and method of Mailloux and Cordâme.

The group’s latest album, Lieux imaginés (Imaginary Places), is all about mood and far away places that fill in the spaces and silences scored in the music. Whether it be a journey to the Sahara ("Isis") or a lush-green tea plantation in the Orient ("Route de la soie"), Mailloux’s sensitivity to the feelings that cause the music from other cultures to come into being is so persuasive you end up convinced that he has spent a good portion of the four seasons there.

Jazz needs more cross over musicians like Jean Felix Mailloux, which is why, in recognition of the importance of transitional music and Cordâme’s unique contribution, the Montreal Jazz Festival programmers continue to bring this quietly awesome trio back. In its own inimitable stringed fashion, it makes the case that crossing over from classical to jazz as natural as willing water into wine.

With special guest pianist Jérôme Beaulieu, Mailloux and his trio Bomata will be performing for free at the 2013 Montreal International Jazz Festival on July 6th, 9 pm, at the CBC Radio-Canada stage.

Photo© Chantal Levesque


John Coltrane
Miles Davis
Thelonius Monk
Charlie Mingus
Oscar Peterson
Charlie Parker
Dizzy Gillespie
Wes Montgomery
Ornette Coleman
Louis Armstrong
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