290

Alain Caron: Conversations

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Alain Caron: Conversations Canadian bassist Alain Caron is best-known as the former member of collaborative 1980s fusion group UZEB and his own projects as a leader since that time, including the house beats-meets-ambient electronica-meets-contemporary fusion of 5 (BHM, 2005) and the concert DVD Alain Caron Live: Cabaret de Montréal (Norac, 2006). Still, digging into his past it becomes clear that Caron's reach has always been broader. As capable with acoustic bass as he is the fretless electric variety, Caron spent considerable time in his early years working in mainstream contexts, making Conversations a completely logical addition to his discography.

The intimacy and conversational nature of the acoustic duet is the foundation for Caron's disc, which teams him with other Canadian artists with whom he's intersected over the years including pianists Lorraine Desmarais, François Bourassa and Oliver Jones, as well as vibraphonist and one-time UZEB member Jean St-Jacques. Caron also welcomes Venezuelan-born pianist Otmaro Ruiz, with whom he collaborated on another fusioner's all-acoustic tangent, guitarist Frank Gambale's Natural High (Wombat, 2006).

The dozen tracks—all but two composed by Caron—range from the elegant swing of Charlie Parker's "Confirmation, with St-Jacques proving he's as widely versed and bebop-capable as Caron, to "Scrapper, a more fiery original from Caron that, paired with Canadian icon Oliver Jones, is the perfect follow-up to Parker's often-covered classic.

Elsewhere, Caron's predilection for the lyrical is heard on the melancholic "Ivoire, where his acoustic bass guitar fronts the theme before handing it off to Ruiz. There's no lack of virtuosity from everyone involved but here, as on the Latin-esque "Questions, featuring Bourassa, it's about the music and the essence of melody. Still, there's complexity to be found on songs like the 5/4 theme of "Blue Screen, another feature for Bourassa that's ultimately an up-tempo blues, and the idiosyncratic intro to "X Tensions that ultimately turns into a gentler dialogue between Caron and Desmarais.

Despite the undeniably strong playing throughout, just as important here are Caron's writing, which manages to feel both familiar and fresh at the same time, and the deep level of interaction and simpatico he shares with every one of his guests. There are no highlights to be found because to identify any would be to diminish everything else. Conversations is a consistently captivating listen from start to finish, and an album that deserves to place all the artists involved on the radar of listeners outside of Canada, but especially Caron who, while enjoying some international acclaim (especially in Europe), clearly deserves to be a better-known name south of the border—and not just to fans of high energy fusion.


Track Listing: No Pick; Ivoire; Questions; Blue Screen; Val C; X Tensions; Solitude; Strings of Spring; Confirmation; Scrapper; Baby Step; Setembro (Brazilian Wedding Song).

Personnel: Alain Caron: bass; Lorraine Desmarais: piano (1, 6); Otmaro Ruiz: piano (2, 5, 12); Franois Bourassa: piano (3, 4, 7); Oliver Jones: piano (8, 10); Jean St-Jacques: vibraphone (9, 11).

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Norac Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Simians Of Swing" CD/LP/Track Review Simians Of Swing
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 24, 2016
Read "Arclight" CD/LP/Track Review Arclight
by Doug Collette
Published: March 5, 2016
Read "2468 West Grand Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review 2468 West Grand Boulevard
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: December 27, 2016
Read "Detour" CD/LP/Track Review Detour
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 26, 2016
Read "East West Daydreams" CD/LP/Track Review East West Daydreams
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "First Set" CD/LP/Track Review First Set
by Jerome Wilson
Published: February 6, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!