The Francois Bourassa Quartet is not content to just play jazz straight; and thankfully for the listener, that's a good thing, as they present some forward-looking and contemplative music. The core members have performed together for over twenty years, and the ensemble is one of Canada's premier jazz groups, having thrilled audiences and impressed critics at events such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Led by pianist Francois Bourassa, the ensemble is rounded out by bassist Guy Boisvert, drummer Greg Ritchie, woodwind player Andre Leroux, and guest percussionist Aboulaye Kone. Indefinite Time
won them a Juno Award (the Canadian Grammy equivalent) for best recording in 2004, which makes good sense given the explorative and introspective quality of the music, which they perform to the hilt.
The many colors of the quartet's repertoire help create an outre quality to the music, from the avant garde "I Dropped The Radio?", with its neo-classical piano intro joined by a cacophony of instrument voices, to the ten minute "Boubacar," which has a funky repeating bass line and enticing percussion. The quartet gives respect to one of its influencesthe great saxophonist Wayne Shorteron "WS Part I and II," with lyricism and empathy. Bourassa's compositions are complex yet centered, as witnessed on the beautiful ballad "Nuit," where the piano and saxophone dance delicately as the drum and bass support the melody. Balancing Bourassa's outstanding piano work is the talent of Andre Leroux, who also provides some Eric Dolphy-like flute skills on the incredibly suave "Won U Part I and II," which morphs from pure '60s modal bop to a new millennium groove. The recording ends as the group pushes the music to the edge on "Could You Do The Dishes Please?" with dissonant instruments and a pronounced bass bow solo which relays the quartet's own statement of modern jazz.
Personnel: Francois Bourassa - piano, Guy Boisvert - acoustic bass, Greg Ritchie - drums, Andre Leroux -
saxophones and flute, Aboulaye Kone - percussion.