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Lex French

New Zealand-born jazz trumpet player Lex French, hailed by Radio Canada jazz critic Stanley Pean as “an extraordinary trumpeter,” is fast becoming a bright star on the Canadian jazz scene.

French possesses a unique voice on the trumpet and plays with technical virtuosity and abiding musical inventiveness, often being compared to legendary trumpeters Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, and Kenny Wheeler. He is also an internationally sought-after composer and arranger and has recently been commissioned to write works for jazz orchestra, jazz quartet, and string quartet. He holds a Doctorate of Music from McGill University.

Lex has over 100 recording credits as a sideman, and throughout his career has recorded or performed with international artists including Bennie Maupin, Aaron Parks, Diana Krall, Patti Austin, Kurt Elling, Paul Anka, Cheyenne Jackson (30 Rock), Andy Bell (Erasure), Bob Mintzer, Bill Cunliffe, Eric Marienthal, Alex Sipiagin, Jean-Michel Pilc, Ryan Truesdell, James Muller, Luis Bonilla, Dick Oatts, Joe LaBarbera, Clay Jenkins, Jim Pugh, Steve Houghton, Jeff Driskill, John Fedchock, Tom Warrington, Larry Koonse, Chris Cain, Bob Sheppard, Fima Ephron, Bill Ware, and Esdra 'Nenem' Ferreira. He has also released two albums as a leader: Prevent the Future (2017). The Cut (2014)

His most recent project includes original compositions inspired by the visual arts and poetry, arrangements of folk songs from around the world, as well as standards from the jazz canon, all played by a band of Montreal jazz luminaries.

Awards

2021 NZ Music Award, Best Jazz Album: The Jac A Gathering
2009 NZ Music Award, Best Jazz Album: NZSM Big Band Run For Cover

Gear

Monette XLT+ Trumpet

Monette B3, B6LD, B6L Unity Mouthpieces


Tags

13
Album Review

Jean-Marc Hebert: L'Origine Eclat​ee

Read "L'Origine Eclat​ee" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Montreal-based guitarist Jean-Marc Hebert's third album, L'Origine Eclatee, sounds like something out of the ECM Records catalog. He is joined by trumpeter Lex French, bassist Morgan Moore and drummer Pierre Tanguay, forming a patient, subdued chamber jazz atmosphere that opens the first of the Hebert originals, “La Deteinte." The tune shimmers. Understatement is the plan of the day, though the force of the sound builds. Is this a haunting, like something trumpeter Arve Henriksen (no stranger to ECM) might create? ...

4
Album Review

Melissa Pipe Sextet: Of What Remains

Read "Of What Remains" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian


On the enchanting Of What Remains, her debut as a leader, Canadian saxophonist and bassoonist Melissa Pipe delightfully blurs the boundaries between jazz and western classical music. Pipe leads a cohesive sextet on seven of her haunting originals, on the theme of time, and an arrangement of Estonian composer Tõnu Kõrvits' “Puudutus." For instance, “La Part Des Anges" opens with Pipe playing the main motif on her airy bassoon, with support from drummer Mili Hong's effervescent beats. After ...

6
Album Review

Melissa Pipe Sextet: Of What Remains

Read "Of What Remains" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Montreal-based multi-reedist Melissa Pipe's artistic vision is fully formed. Her debut recording, Of What Remains, features a sextet which explores darkness with deep tones--Pipe plays baritone sax and bassoon here--by delving into temporality, the shifting of time and being, via chamber music reveries and jazz grooves. Noir is a word which comes immediately to mind on the disc's opener, “Complainte du vent," and its follow-up, “La part des anges." a pair of somber tunes which may evoke a ...

18
Album Review

Kate Wyatt: Artifact

Read "Artifact" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


At this point, in June of 2022, there is not a lot of internet chatter concerning Montreal-based pianist Kate Wyatt. Her website does not include a biography. But a trip to YouTube land reveals a bit of music from her debut CD release, Artifact. That may be all anyone needs in terms of an introduction. It is uncertain what can be learned from those “played with" and “performed alongside" nuggets that are common in new artist intros anyway.

2
Album Review

CODE Quartet: Genealogy

Read "Genealogy" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann


Chordless or not, quartets tend to find a way around the necessity of vertical simultaneousness to create significant harmonies. With the Montreal-based Code Quartet it's the former variety of instrumentation, combining a vital rhythm section of drum and bass with two horns, much like Ornette Coleman's groundbreaking quartet or its logical continuation in the group Old and New Dreams. The music of Genealogy, made up almost exclusively of originals--hold the traditional “O Sacred head, Now Wounded," harmonized by Johann Sebastian ...

1
Album Review

Sebastian Bailey: Ensemble de Magnac

Read "Ensemble de Magnac" reviewed by Jim Olin


Quebec-based composer-saxophonist Sebastian Bailey is primarily focused on chamber jazz on his latest EP, and his innovative ear guides each track. Ensemble de Magnac summarizes Bailey's creative vision quite well, especially his ability to create a diverse and engaging soundscape. The music on this release has a classic sound and the production aesthetics are solid, highlighting the natural chemistry between these talented musicians. The record's spotlight on chamber jazz allows the line-up to create a thick sonic fabric ...

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“An extraordinary trumpeter.” – Stanley Pean, Radio Canada

“French has a drive and verve akin to Woody Shaw” – George Harris, JazzWeekly.com

“Trumpeter Lex French brings to mind the late Lee Morgan and the finesse of trumpeter and flugelhorn player Art Farmer.” – Christophe Rodriguez, SortiesJazzNights.com

“French is an excellent trumpet player in the tradition from Wheeler's ECM albums Deer Wan and Gnu High.” – Jan Granlie, Salt Peanuts

"French [exhibits] a virtuosic control of [the] instrument, powerfully leading the band through energetic rapids or out across tranquil depths." – Ruben Grant, radio13.co.nz

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Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Of What Remains

Odd Sound Records
2023

buy

L'Origine Eclat​ee

Self Produced
2023

buy

Artifact

Self Produced
2022

buy

Upon First Impression

Orchard of Pomegranates
2022

buy

Genealogy

Justin Time Records
2021

buy

Imaginary Structures

Three Pines Records
2021

buy

La parte des anges

From: Of What Remains
By Lex French

Building You, Building Me

From: Upon First Impression
By Lex French

Antepenultimate

From: Artifact
By Lex French

Artifact

From: Artifact
By Lex French

First Impression

From: Imaginary Structures
By Lex French

Watching It All Slip Away

From: Genealogy
By Lex French

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