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

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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
  Contributing Editors
Bernard Dubé
Sylvain Richard
David Solway
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

2008 Jazz en Rafale Festival (Montreal) - Mar. 27th - April 5th -- Tél. 514-490-9613 ext-101 (featuring David Binney) Montreal Jazz Festival 2006 EMI Classics







Piano Keyboard

from Montreal


© Marcel Dubois


In Canada, come late March early April, both hope and music spring eternal. Ushering in the long awaited vernal equinox is Montreal’s first jazz festival of the year, Jazz En Rafale. This year’s 6-day mini fest, © Marcel Duboiscelebrating its 10th anniversary, played in an unprecedentedly snowless city. It featured Cuba’s amazing composer, arranger, pianist, percussionist Omar Sosa, and the always engaging Jupiter-Vandoren competition, that after a tough selection process, showcased five of the very best up-and-coming jazz combos vying for the precious first prize: a first album recording contract with Effendi.

I now look forward to this competition as much as the main events because I always hold out hope that the new generation will correct what I don’t like in jazz: directionless solos that brilliantly succeed in saying nothing, and over-reliance on improvisation at the expense of composition. For the most part, the youngsters didn’t disappoint because while in awe of their iconic elders and demonstratively familiar with the music of the past, they are brash enough to show polite contempt for what has been said and said well -- so irrepressibly eager are they to share their fecund inner visions and inspiration. They made a convincing case, set and point that without youthful fervor and innocent conceit -- the food upon which the imagination thrives -- there would be no ‘new directions’ in jazz.© Marcel Dubois

The most inventive intervals from this year’s competition were supplied by the Syzygy Quintet -- the daring and brilliantly conceived mixing and harmonizing of sax (Ted Crosby) and voice (Isis Giraldo). Giraldo was able to shape and sound her voice so that it sounded like an instrument, and in the context of separate but wonderfully composed harmonic lines, the effect was magical. It’s only a question of time and exposure before uptown jazz incorporates this very effective pairing into its lexicon.

© Marcel DuboisOther competition revelations included the mature, considerate and conceptual sax playing of Philippe Poirier from Les Associés; and the development and architecture that distinguished the compositions of the opening group, Atomic 5 -- my unsolicited first choice. The winner, last year’s runner up, was the Rafael Zaldivar Trio.

Thanks to the hard work of Effendi founders, Alain Bédard and Carole Therrien, and the ubiquitous, multi-tasking Maurin Auxéméry, this year’s Jazz En Rafale was an unqualified success. The enigmatic, charismatic pianist Omar Sosa delivered a rousing set of Cuban influenced jazz inflected with contrapuntal rhythms that never fail to betray his small island’s large influence © Marcel Duboison western music. France’s Anne Paceo made the case that you don’t need testosterone to excel on the drums, and guitarist Carl Naud showed that fusion need not sound like a has-been genre in need of life support. His song writing showed craft, and his invited guest guitarist, Sylvain Provost, demonstrated why his soon to be released CD, Désirs Démodés, will be one of the year’s musical talking points.

Since the Jazz En Rafale juggernaut is getting bigger and better y-ear after y-ear, it would be strategically hip if it were to stage its concerts in a downtown venue, giving walk-ins the opportunity to discover why Montreal jazz and its jazz festivals, both large and small, are lessons on how it gets done. Stay tuned for 2010.


© Marcel Dubois






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