Canadian bassist/composer Carl Mayotte calls Québec City home, although he currently lives in Montréal and has also spent time in France. Already a gifted electric bassist, earning a Master's degree from the Jazz Faculty of McGill University increased his composing and arranging skills. This music frequently uses funk and Latin music like classic fusion jazz. But at the same time, at full force this is a ten-piece band with a five-piece horn section, capable of energetic section work as well as exciting solos.
"Le Fantosme" (which means phantasm or apparition in French) opens the album with atmospheric keyboards and electronicsreminiscent of an Emerson, Lake and Palmer albumbefore launching into a lyrical fretless bass/saxophone melody. The second part shifts into Latin fusion, driven by the horn section. "Grand Prix" finds Mayotte's fleet bass lines trading with guitarist Gabriel Cyr, while "O Commodoro" features a virtuosic bass solo. In "Crépuscule" Cyr's solo guitar soundscape serves as an introduction to the ballad "Haynarket Square" (for the record, it is spelled with an 'n' on purpose, as an inside joke based on how band members pronounced it).
The ballad features bass as lead instrument throughout, except for a brief soprano saxophone solo. "Smoky Chicks" is a guitar feature, including a blazing (but melodic) solo. After a bridge it goes out on a high energy synthesizer solo and a blaze of horns. "La Cavalerie S'Envole" has a definite Weather Report vibe (especially with soprano saxophonist Damien Jade Cyr as the lead voice), while spotlighting pianist Francis Grégoire. "Marise" is an overdubbed bass duet, a final showcase for Mayotte as both composer and bassist.
An excellent debut for Mayotte's new band. His bass playing is a highlight, but the arrangements also give plenty of space to his talented bandmates.
Le Fantosme; Grand Prix; O Commodoro; Crépuscule; Haynarket Square; Smoky Chicks; La Cavalerie S'Envole; Marise; Miroir Hélicoïdal; Spiritus.
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