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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francois Carrier / Michel Lambert / Alexey Lapin: The Russian Concerts Volume 1

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Back in 2011, this trio released an excellent trilogy of albums which documented a December 2010 tour of Russia by Canadian alto saxophonist Francois Carrier and his long-time drummer Michel Lambert during which they played with Russian pianist Alexey Lapin in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Now, The Russian Concerts Volume 1 again documents the three together in Moscow, but this is not a fourth record of the 2010 tour, instead being the first (of several, judging by its title) from April 2013. The music come from two consecutive days--three pieces recorded on April 27th at DOM Cultural Center and one ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Shoreditch, London, December 2011: One great gig, two fine albums

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In December 2011, French-Canadian alto saxophonist François Carrier was approaching the end of a six-month sabbatical visit to London, sponsored by Conseil des arts et des lettres Québec. On December 6, Carrier played a gig at The Vortex to launch his album Inner Spire (Leo, 2011) recorded the previous year in Russia with his long-time drummer Michel Lambert and Russian pianist Alexey Lapin; Lambert had flown into London for that launch gig. The next day, December 7, Carrier and Lambert played what was to be the last Carrier gig of that London sojourn, at St. Leonard's Church, Shoreditch. The duo ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Francois Carrier Trio Live in Russia

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Back in September, the review of Inner Spire (Leo, 2011) by the Québec duo of alto saxophonist Francois Carrier and drummer Michel Lambert with Russian pianist Alexey Lapin, closed with the words “This is an impressive debut from a fine trio. Let us hope a sequel follows soon." Shortly after that review appeared, news leaked out of not one but two sequels to Inner Spire, and now they are both released. While Inner Spire was recorded in Moscow on December 19 2010, by the following day, the scene had shifted to St. Petersburg where All Out and In ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francois Carrier / Alexey Lapin / Michel Lambert: Inner Spire

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For Inner Spire, his fourth release on Leo records, Montreal-based alto saxophonist François Carrier performs with a new trio, retaining his long-standing collaborator Michel Lambert on drums and replacing double-bass with piano, played by Alexey Lapin. Recorded at the DOM Cultural Centre in Moscow in December 2010, the album's five tracks were entirely improvised. That is not immediately obvious as, without any tentative warming-up period, right from the start of the title track Carrier and Lapin are in full flow, confidently spinning out coherent melodic lines with ease. They are ably supported by Lambert's drumming which matches their fluency and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francois Carrier Trio + 1: Entrance 3

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Venerable Canadian saxophonist Francois Carrier steers his trio and celebrated Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson into many circuitous routes during this set recorded at the 2002 Vancouver Jazz Festival. The musicians instill profundity into this democratic set, where the instrumentation is mixed with a horizontal plane approach. Here, Carrier's spirited attack is fused with grace, power and lyrically resplendent voicings, amid ventures into the freer realm. The band's budding passages signify a consortium of slants, comprising investigative techniques and a sense of urgency, often spanning numerous jazz stylizations. “Entrance 3," offers a compelling glimpse of the band's diversity. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francois Carrier: Entrance 3

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Some artists have a way of synthesizing various modes and trends in their craft, so that their art comes off as all-inclusive and incredibly original. Canadian saxophonist François Carrier is one such artist. On Entrance 3, he bridges modern free jazz and mid-1960s post-bop, with guest pianist Bobo Stenson and his working trio of bassist Pierre Côté and drummer Michel Lambert. Recorded in 2002 at the Vancouver Jazz Festival, this disc presents Carrier and company in their best format, a live setting. The altoist's live music has been well-documented with The Digital Box (Ayler Records, 2010), a download-only ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francois Carrier: Within

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Within opens with François Carrier's alto saxophone played alone. From these very precise, centered, and yet soft-edged notes, the change to the listening space is immediate and complete. The line floats and twists, making feints towards melody, rhythmic regularity and harmony, only to turn away. A seemingly familiar phrase flies by without being developed, but rather is consumed in the ongoing flow of the music. Such is the impact of this June 24, 2007 live recording from the Calgary Jazz Festival. Joined by his long-time partner, percussionist Michel Lambert and guest bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel, the trio plays ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francois Carrier / Michel Lambert: Kathmandu

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Alto saxophonist Francois Carrier is one of the most open musical souls around. When he went to Nepal in October of 2006 with his long-time musical partner, drummer Michel Lambert, to play in the fifth Jazzmandu jazz festival there, the depth of the connection he immediately felt with the Nepali people overwhelmed him. Kathmandu is the result of that encounter, and his emotions can be readily heard in the music. The group was supposed to be a trio, but one musician could not make it. After a grueling thirty-hour trip, the duo played music for a very ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francois Carrier: Noh

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Francois Carrier lives his life and plays his music with the Zen ideal in mind, and can sound like Thich Nhat Hahn when asked about his art: To be alive is beautiful, to breathe is beautiful, and to create music in the Now is beautiful. From this vantage point, Noh too, is beautiful. Briefly, the Zen Buddhist ideal is to live in the moment at the intersection of the Absolute (sacred) and the Discriminatory (profane) worlds. The awareness of the Eternal Now, of life being a series of Nows, allows one to be truly free, avoiding the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dewey Redman; Francois Carrier: Open Spaces

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Jazz lost one of its giants when the great Dewey Redman passed away on September 2. The tenor saxophonist was a man of enormous vitality and soul, and his presence will be sorely missed. Fortunately technology's magic includes the ability to keep music alive, and Redman can always be heard on a myriad of released and hopefully soon-to-be released CDs. Open Spaces is compried of three improvised songs culled from a series of 1999 concerts in Quebec City, featuring Redman, Francois Carrier (alto saxophone), Michel Donato and Ron Sequin (bass) and Michel Lambert (drums). The song titles--"Going ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francois Carrier: Open Spaces

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With Open Spaces, Francois Carrier has given us an opportunity to hear him paired with the magnificent Dewey Redman, recorded over two nights live in Quebec City in 1999. Carrier's usual drummer, Michel Lambert, provides powerhouse support on both nights, while bassist Michel Donato plays on track one and Ron Seguin on tracks two and three. This release, which was also mastered and produced by Carrier, is essentially a homage to Redman. Redman, who died last September at the age of 75, did not gain as much recognition as perhaps he should have, but he was acknowledged ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francois Carrier: Happening

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Listeners who have followed multiple reed player François Carrier, particularly his two 2004 releases Play (482 Music) and Traveling Lights (Justin Time), will welcome this double-CD offering on Leo. Not only is Happening a double dose of outstanding freely improvised (as opposed to “free") jazz, but it is recorded live. Carrier's long-time trio partners Pierre Cote (bass) and Michel Lambert (drums) join him, plus Mat Maneri on viola and Uwe Neumann on various Indian instruments, including sitar and anandolohori (Indian talking drum). Anyone who's not familiar with the language of free improvisation may find Happening a very ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Franois Carrier Trio: Play

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It may not come as a complete surprise to listeners who have been following Canadian saxophonist François Carrier's work, but his new trio record has a very odd sense of coherence. It's odd for two reasons: one, because Play was compiled from a total of seven different appearances during the trio's 2000 Canadian tour, at locations from British Columbia to Nova Scotia; two, because most of the recording (six of eight tracks) consists of fully improvised music. Somehow all those stops on the road hang together quite nicely when the deed is done.

This is the first time ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francois Carrier Trio with Uri Caine: All' Alba

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French Canadian alto saxophonist Francois Carrier has made a career out of being unpredictable. All' Alba, his latest CD, is yet another pleasant surprise. The surprise here, however, is not Carrier's melodic inventiveness, nor is it bassist Pierre Cote and drummer Michel Lambert's highly sympathetic vibrations. In this case, the surprise is the welcome addition of adventurous pianist Uri Caine to Carrier's usual lineup.

Carrier's alto is rough and sinewy, as always. His sheer brawn as a soloist belies the alto's lighter sound (it's interesting to compare Carrier to someone like Paul Desmond, in whose hands the alto ...



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