A conversation among six people is not always an easy thing to pull off. There may be some who seek to overwhelm the others, and those all too content to be dominated. Too often the give and take may devolve into either discord or moody stasis. The wonder of the Jean Vanasse Sextet is that the group can create music so light, airy, and free of friction.
Amérikois finds the sextet further sweetening the confections of composer/arranger/leader Jean Vanasse. This mellow music is flavored by the delicacy of vibes and marimba set appealingly against the throaty purr of bass clarinet, as on "Brises Bises." The lyrical whimsy of Mathieu Bïlanger's solo flows naturally into the cascade of vibes. At the same time, Sylvain Provost's electric guitar proves a gently insistent place keeper.
Provost's tasteful runs on acoustic guitar grace the title track, darting around the vocals of Josï Acquelin. This reviewer's ignorance of any language besides English leaves me unable to report whether the lyrics convey previously unknown truths, but the addition of the human voice to the instrumental tapestry satisfyingly adds yet another texture.
Amérikois is an album of such subtle joys. The players do not beat the listener over the head with virtuoso fireworks, but instead perform with deep understanding of each other's motivations within the framework of Vanasse's compositions. This is patient music that will wait for the listener to approach it and appreciate its pleasures in time.
Track Listing: Petit Michel; Brises Bises; Amérikois; Lumieres; Zaz; Voyagel Aux Piles; Aiken Hill; Sur les pistes.
Personnel: Jean Vanesse-vibes, marimba; Mathieu B?langer-bass clarinet; Richard Savoie-tenor sax, soprano, flute; Normand Guilbeault-acoustic bass; Pierre Tanguay-drums; Jos? Acquelin-lyrics
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. After going through Rock 'n Roll, the Beatles and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock phases over the next eight or so years, I finally bought my first jazz album; We're All Together Again for the First Time by Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. I was hooked on jazz, and still am 40+ years later.
I moved from England to the USA in 2002, and founded the Brookfield Jazz Society in 2005.
I became editor of the quarterly IAJRC Journalin 2012. The magazine goes to the worldwide membership of the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) and many major libraries and educational establishments around the world.
As well as being the editor of the IAJRC Journal, I write about jazz and review CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books on jazz.
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