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Rachel Therrien: Home Inspiration

Dan McClenaghan By

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The big challenge for the young musician is developing a distinctive voice. This goes not just for the instrumental side of the equation, but maybe even more so in the band they put together. Competence and even virtuosic flare are fairly common, but without the voice, the sound can come out bland, pasteurized.

Trumpeter Rachel Therrien, out of Montreal, lacks a deep resume at this point. She's young. But she makes, in one of the toughest formats—the standard two horns and a rhythm section— beautiful and distinctive modern jazz, engaging music with a personality and presence. Her band's got a voice, a melding of voices creating a sparkling ensemble sounds on Home Inspiration.

"To John," a Therrien original, opens the set on some infectious palmas—hand claps, sounding kind of like castanets—before keyboardist Charles Trudel comps a Simon Page bass solo groove with brief moments of electric gleam. Therrien enters on trumpet with a gorgeous tone and perfect articulation. Then alto saxophonist Benjamin Deschamps brings in a sharper, tarter tone on his solo—edgy, agitated. Inside it all, drummer Alain Bourgeois lays low, laying down the subtle groove with sudden thunder and lightening bursts interspersed, in a Tony Williams (of Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet) mode.

"Ploma," from the pen of bassist Page, finds drummer Bourgeois in a more more explosive frame of mind, driving the music forward, with the two horn harmony and interplay sounding very polished. Another thoughtful trumpet solo from the leader, and keyboardist Trudel is there providing an electro-luminescent foundation before altoist Deschamps gets his turns, creating a restrained story in front of Bourgeois' near-schizophrenic drum work.

Therrien's "Lost" goes into a "soundtrack to a madcap comedy" roll in the beginning, segueing into a dark and dangerous, eerie outer-space free jazz encounter before it resumes a momentum gathering return to it's intro atmosphere. Pianist Trudel penned "Thelxinge." Going acoustic in a duet with Therrien, it's a pensive down tempo tune that gives the leader a chance to show her chops in the ballad mode. She's marvelous.

Home Inspiration, a superb sophomore effort from Montreal's Rachel Therrien.

Track Listing: To John; Ploma; Lost; Thelxinge; Whatever; Paradis; Last Inspiration; La Soledad; Parallele; Out of a Dream; Lost (alt. take); Parallele (alt. take).

Personnel: Rachel Therrien: trumpet, flugelhorn; Benjamin Deschamps: alto saxophone; Charles Trudel: piano and keyboard; Simon Page: electric and acoustic bass; Alain Bourgeois: drums.

Title: Home Inspiration | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced


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