The Francois Bourassa Quartet is not content to just play jazz straight; and thankfully for the listener, that's a good thing, as they present some forward-looking and contemplative music. The core members have performed together for over twenty years, and the ensemble is one of Canada's premier jazz groups, having thrilled audiences and impressed critics at events such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Led by pianist Francois Bourassa, the ensemble is rounded out by bassist Guy Boisvert, drummer Greg Ritchie, woodwind player Andre Leroux, and guest percussionist Aboulaye Kone. Indefinite Time won them a Juno Award (the Canadian Grammy equivalent) for best recording in 2004, which makes good sense given the explorative and introspective quality of the music, which they perform to the hilt.
The many colors of the quartet's repertoire help create an outre quality to the music, from the avant garde "I Dropped The Radio?", with its neo-classical piano intro joined by a cacophony of instrument voices, to the ten minute "Boubacar," which has a funky repeating bass line and enticing percussion. The quartet gives respect to one of its influencesthe great saxophonist Wayne Shorteron "WS Part I and II," with lyricism and empathy. Bourassa's compositions are complex yet centered, as witnessed on the beautiful ballad "Nuit," where the piano and saxophone dance delicately as the drum and bass support the melody. Balancing Bourassa's outstanding piano work is the talent of Andre Leroux, who also provides some Eric Dolphy-like flute skills on the incredibly suave "Won U Part I and II," which morphs from pure '60s modal bop to a new millennium groove. The recording ends as the group pushes the music to the edge on "Could You Do The Dishes Please?" with dissonant instruments and a pronounced bass bow solo which relays the quartet's own statement of modern jazz.
Track Listing: 1. I Dropped The Radio...
4. WS Part I
5. WS Part II
6. Check Out Time
9. Won U Part I
10 Won U Part II
11. Could You Do The Dishes Please?
Personnel: Francois Bourassa - piano, Guy Boisvert - acoustic bass, Greg Ritchie - drums, Andre Leroux -
saxophones and flute, Aboulaye Kone - percussion.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
Login to your All About Jazz member account to submit articles and press releases, upload images, edit musician profiles, add events and business listings, communicate with other members via personal messages, submit inqueries or contribute any content.