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ALBUM REVIEWS

Francois Houle - Alexander Hawkins - Harris Eisenstadt: You Have Options

Read "You Have Options" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

The late co-founder of the Vancouver Jazz Festival, Ken Pickering, recommended British pianist Alexander Hawkins to consummate this trio featuring Canadians: drummer Harris Eisenstadt (drums) and clarinetist Francois Houle. And, based on the output of this exquisite studio set, it was a sound decision to align with the pianist, who for several years has performed with Eisenstadt in the Convergence Quartet. Houle's melodious lines occasionally adopt flotation-like aspects, as the trio executes staggered asynchronous grooves with quaint shifts ...

LIVE REVIEWS

François Houle 5+1: Montreal, Canada, July 3, 2012

Read "François Houle 5+1: Montreal, Canada, July 3, 2012" reviewed by Sara Villa

François Houle 5+1Casa del PopoloMontréal, QuébecJuly 3, 2012Wild strawberries. This was the taste of clarinetist François Houle's 5+1 performance at Casa del Popolo, presenting his group's just-released Genera (Songlines, 2012). Why wild strawberries? Because the entire two sets had both the fresh and savory, yet also spicy and untamed flavor of the Québecois berries which ripen in this summer season, and the sophisticated, refined and sensitive texture of a music that recalled the emotional complexity ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Francois Houle 5 + 1: Genera

Read "Genera" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Celebrated Canadian progressive jazz clarinetist Francois Houle enlists an all-star support system for a comprehensive album that radiates numerous slants amid ethereal backwashes, scrappy improvisation and softly explorative passages. “Albatros" highlights the sextet's manifold capabilities. Propagated by Houle's buoyantly lilting stride, the band generates a deceptively complex primary theme based on odd-metered unison phrasings, spanning free-bop undertones and pianist Benoit Delbecq's ephemeral classical fills. “Albatros" serves as a solid vehicle for the band to stretch during the bridge, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Houle / Leandre / Strid: 9 Moments

Read "9 Moments" reviewed by Nic Jones

Never was a title more apt. It says it all; in music so profoundly of the moment, and in a world where time sometimes seems infinitely malleable, it's the preciousness of the moment that's often the first casualty. On 9 Moments, however, every moment seems like a cause for celebration.

Listeners can thus be eternally grateful for the fact that a performance such as “Moment Grave" was saved from the unforgiving ether. Bassist Joelle Leandre's uncredited vocal interjections have the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Houle / Leandr: 9 Moments

Read "9 Moments" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

Three exceptional improvisers comfortable in the art of instant interaction join forces and unleash an exceptional aural treat on 9 Moments. They define nine moments which devolve over different trajectories and moods, making each sit up and draw the listener into its soul. They can be animated and soar in exultation, or dip into a soothing well-being. The spell is created by François Houle (clarinets), Joëlle Leandré (double bass) and Raymond Strid (percussion), on this recording of live and studio ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Francois Houle / Evan Parker / Benoit Delbecq: La Lumi

Read "La Lumi" reviewed by John Eyles

Recorded at the Innovations concert series in Montreal in 2005, this trio teams Evan Parker with the established duo of Benoit Delbecq and François Houle, who have been together for a decade. The pair is known to play a wide variety of music--from classical to world to jazz and improvisation--all of it extremely well. Both technically and temperamentally, they are suited to Parker; the threesome sound well-adjusted to each others' instincts, and should as this was not just a one-off ...

PROFILES

Francois Houle: Making the Clarinet Sing

Read "Francois Houle: Making the Clarinet Sing" reviewed by Celeste Sunderland

Nearly two decades ago, during an interlude in Europe researching 18th and 19th century clarinets, clarinetist François Houle found himself in a Paris jazz club watching soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy. “I knew nothing about him whatsoever, he explained. “When I heard him play I was quite floored. I didn't know that this type of jazz even existed. My idea of jazz was [pianist Thelonious] Monk and [saxophonist John] Coltrane and [saxophonist] Charlie Parker. I went as far ...


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