JazzLab Orchestra has been a fixture on the jazz scene in Canada for nearly two decades. Their unique heavy sound features six brass and reed players with a relatively standard piano, bass and drum rhythm section, and they've captured that sound on several standalone recordings and presented it on more than 300 concert stages across North America and Europe.
The music on Loguslabusmuzikus, nine new pieces written by bassist Auguste Le Prez under the subtitle "The New Experience: A Human Adventure Above All," sometimes seems as dense and imposing as that title. Jazzlab is a true Orchestra: Few solos rise above and out of their thickly interwoven ensemble sound, and digesting this sound can be like trying to unravel one enormous knot.
The opening "La Grande Sauve Majeure" ("The Great Major Rescue"), one of three extended (more than ten minute) pieces, comes together through the sound of things falling apart, as the rhythm section and horns enter searching for each other, circling each other, and then finally come together to chew through the melody like a meaty steak. Trumpeter Jacques Kuba Seguin steps out of the mix and then heads straight into orbit, spitting and moaning a spacey blues as the accompaniment keeps shifting beneath him, calling to mind Lester Bowie's solo sound in the collective Art Ensemble Of Chicago (AEC); later, a trombone solo oozes out of the rhythm section like New Orleans hot sauce with honey, pouring jazz that's thick and peppery and sweet.
The blues sound foundational on Loguslabusmuzikus but in the way Charles Mingus used the blues: for tone and as framework for solo rounds, but not for the basic twelve-or sixteen-bar structure. Bassist Alain Bédard opens "Bluesy Del Lunedì" opens with a nearly straight-ahead walking blues but it often wobbles off (and sometimes finds its way back on) that path. Seguin's hot trumpet solo bubbles out of this mix like a stove pot boiling over. Bédard also sets up "Lunes & Marées" as a more cogent walking blues that mostly remains on course.
Loguslabusmuzikus oftenand simultaneouslyresurrects and transmits echoes of Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool orchestral sound and the communal spirit of jazz collectives such as Oregon or the AEC, but it's not for the faint of musical heart.
La Grande Sauve Majeure; Humor de la Seconda Noche…; Pum la Suite; Bluesy del
Lunedi; Criucm; Le Grain Blanc Dans les Voiles; Casse-pattes/case-guele/case-tete;
Lunes & Marees; Compte-rendu II.
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