168

Vanassextet: Amerikois

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Vanassextet: Amerikois Amérikois is a very deceptive album. It starts with "Petit Michel," which sounds very much like light jazz from a French movie, but then grows deeper in both emotion and musicality. The instrumentation changes with more use of the bass clarinet, a fabulous sound, in music with more intricate structure.

Being a vibraphonist, Vanasse is subject to the prejudice that seems to dog such players: their instrument is for some reason not taken seriously. While not easily placeable stylistically within the vibes pantheon, his compositional and arranging skills actually outweigh his playing.

Belanger's bass clarinet is a wonderful asset, and he plays it in such a manner that his facility and smoothness are both taken for granted and ear-catching at the same time. His reed partner, Savoie, also gets a very nice sound while contributing many interesting musical ideas. Provost complements the soloists with some fluid guitar, not taking the lead very often, but mostly providing a shimmering background to the proceedings. Guilbeault and Tanguay in the rhythm section play as one and really ground the group.

Clearly, tracks three, four, and five ("Amérikois," "Lumineirs," and "Zaz") are the important ones, reaching the peak of intensity. Acquelin recites a poem in both Spanish and French (and possibly other languages that I could not make out)—which means that I could not understand it (or for that matter, the liner notes)—as the band, led by Vanasse on marimba, provides an ethereal background. "Lumineire" starts with a boppish melody that leads down haunting paths, while "Zaz" begins with an outburst followed by mysterious sounds that build gradually behind the alto sax's plaintive motives, until it takes off for a rather hot trip, led by Provost on guitar using a faintly fuzzy sound.

The other tracks are also very good, and the album closes with a quiet, beautiful duet between Vanasse and Guilbeault that finishes things off like a sorbet after a spicy meal.

Very well done, deceptive in its seeming simplicity, Amérikois is very easy to enjoy many times.

Visit Jean Vanasse on the web.

Track Listing: Petit Michel; Brises Bises; AAmérikois; Lumineires ; Zaz; Voyage; Aux Piles; Aiken Hill; Sur les pistes.

Personnel: Jean Vanasse: vibraphone, marimba; Mathieu Belanger: bass clarinet; Richard Savoie: tenor and soprano saxophone, flute; Norman Guilbeault: acoustic bass; Pierre Tanguay: drums; Sylvain Provost: electric and acoustic guitar; Jose Acquelin: voice.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Effendi Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read In the Still of the Night CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Zea CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Asian Fields Variations CD/LP/Track Review Asian Fields Variations
by John Kelman
Published: May 21, 2017
Read Left Right Left CD/LP/Track Review Left Right Left
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Momentum" CD/LP/Track Review Momentum
by John Sharpe
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 3, 2017
Read "Resting in a Fold of the Fog" CD/LP/Track Review Resting in a Fold of the Fog
by John Eyles
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Alpha Centauri" CD/LP/Track Review Alpha Centauri
by Mark F. Turner
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Ocean of Storms" CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Dreamsville" CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, and provide read access to our future articles.