219

Julie Lamontagne Trio: Facing the Truth

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Julie Lamontagne Trio: Facing the Truth Gary Burton isn't the only one to discover vital new talent, as he did on Next Generation (Concord, 2005). Over the past few years, the Canadian Effendi Records label has introduced a surprising number of outstanding artists to the Canadian jazz scene. Their Effendi Jazz Lab performance at the '04 Ottawa International Jazz Festival demonstrated just how fresh some of their new signings are. In addition to being strong performers with well-formed musical personalities, they are compelling composers as well.

Renowned for a wide variety of styles, Effendi's common thread is a fearless pursuit of musical truths without compromise. To take these artists (and itself) to the next level, Effendi needs to gain distribution in other countries, especially the United States. Artists like saxophonists Rémi Bolduc, Jean-Pierre Zanella, and Christine Jensen are unequivocally world-class and deserve to be heard by larger audiences.

For another example, take Julie Lamontagne. Classically trained on piano from an early age, but with a voracious musical appetite that has seen her pursue flute, saxophone, and Latin percussion, her main interest remains her first. And while she has worked with a wide range of aritsts from Brazilian singer/songwriter Monica Freire to Haitian singer Éval Manigat and French chanson Isabelle Boulay, her passion remains jazz. Currently in New York, supported by Canadian grants and studying with Garry Dial and Fred Hersch, she's still a work in development. Which makes her debut recording, Facing the Truth, all the more remarkable. She may still be busy honing her craft—who isn't?—but this contemporary piano trio, featuring bassist Dave Watts and drummer Richard Irwin, demonstrates an already well-formed musical conception.

These ten compositions are all hers, and she covers a range of stylistic territory. "Vagabonde conveys a Bill Evans vibe with its loping waltz time, lyrical bent, and gentle impressionism. But no sooner is one lulled into a feeling of relative calm than Lamontagne shifts gears with the title track, which begins with a heavy-hitting riff on the lower end of the piano. But it's only a temporary diversion, as the tune settles into a more delicate centre. The aggressive stance of the intro pops up here and there, but Lamontagne's solo again comes from the Bill Evans School—although perhaps by way of John Taylor in its greater sense of abstraction, kept in check by Watts and Irwin's adherence to compositional form.

"Hang Dog revolves around a semi-funky bass line and a hint of gospel, but the touch remains light. Even on up-tempo pieces like the 9/8 samba "CCM, Lamontagne's approach remains feathery, although she's capable of stronger dynamics when need be, as on "Day in Paname, which alternates between another funk vamp and a light, yet insistently swinging middle section.

Facing the Truth is an auspicious debut from a young pianist who will certainly be heard from more on the Canadian jazz scene. It would be a shame if the vagaries of the business world prevent her from being heard by a larger public.

Visit Julie Lamontagne on the web.


Track Listing: Vagabonde; Facing the Truth; Deuce Latitude; Hang Dog; CCM; For Months; Day in Paname; L'Aliz

Personnel: Julie Lamontagne (piano); Dave Watts (acoustic bass); Richard Irwin (drums)

Title: Facing the Truth | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Effendi Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "It's Time" CD/LP/Track Review It's Time
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Friday Night in San Francisco" CD/LP/Track Review Friday Night in San Francisco
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: September 4, 2016
Read "Live At Blues Alley" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Blues Alley
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "Live at Barbes: Slavic Soul Party Plays Duke Ellington's Far East Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Barbes: Slavic Soul Party Plays Duke...
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "Love Song" CD/LP/Track Review Love Song
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "All The Dreams" CD/LP/Track Review All The Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 12, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.