French Canada has a new standard bearer in Free Jazz.
François Carrier's alto saxophone weaves its way through the title track in the same way John Coltrane's tenor passed through A Love Supreme. Steve Amirault's piano accents the composition as McCoy Tyner did for Coltrane. Carrier's music on Compassion is firmly grounded in the Love Supreme mode. At times swinging, at other times solidly iconoclastic, this Canadian Juno Award Winner (Canada's Grammy® Award) weaves a complex carpet of sound and rhythm. This music, at once, is all structure and no structure. This type of playing is very demanding on the rhythm section, but drummer Michel Lambert and bassist Pierre Côté guide Carrier's complicated compositions ably.
After the probing of "Compassion", Carrier explores loose Hard Bop in "Moksha", which is equipped with a steadily walking bass and Anthony Williams explosive drumming. "Lo" is a smooth ballad with a wandering melody. "The Stream", angular and nervous, would have pleased Charles Mingus with its "Moanin'"-like opening figure. Carrier offers a panorama of music on Compassion that is sure to please even the fussiest of listeners. This disc marks a continuation of Naxos Jazz's dedication to the freer jazz and avant-guard sounds. Thoroughly entertaining, Compassion is for all Naxos and modern jazz fans.