This debut recording from French Canadian pianist Julie Lamontagne offers a good opportunity to hear a fresh trio at work. Lamontange is a former student of French pianist Lorraine Desmarais; more recently she studied in New York with Garry Dial and Fred Hersch. Among her many credits, she has worked with the popular Montreal big band led by Denny Christianson. Lamontagne is joined by bassist Dave Watts and drummer Richard Irwin.
All ten compositions are Lamontagne originals, and the album reveals that the pianist has absorbed a considerable jazz piano vocabulary insofar as influences are concerned. The opening track, "Vagabonde," begins as a reflective ballad but soon builds to an intense cauldron that is helped by Watts and Irwin stoking the fire. On the other hand, "Facing The Truth" begins in an up-tempo manner but soon evolves into a lyrical reading. The catchy melody of "Hank Dog" sounds like something out of Ramsey Lewis' popular mid-1960s period, and "CCM" brings a much edgier post-millennium approach.
Facing The Truth shows the importance of interaction in a piano trio. The supportive work of Dave Watts' bass and especially the athleticism of Richard Irwin's drums elevate this album.
Personnel: Julie Lamontagne: piano; Dave Watts: bass; Richard Irwin: drums.