135

Fr: Tap Bass

Paul Olson By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz, by its very nature, is a sharing act. Any musical format based on group improvisation cannot help but be about sharing and, to some extent, democracy. Tap Bass , journeyman Montreal bassist Frédéric Alarie's sixth album as a leader (and first in five years), takes this spirit of sharing to some interesting lengths—to its benefit.

This is Alarie's first CD on the Québec-based Effendi label. Let's hope it's not his last: Alarie's music benefits greatly from the Effendi trademarks of classy, elegant packaging and crisp, limpid sound (it would not be outrageously glib to call them the ECM of the Great White North). Alarie is a fine jazz composer; so fine, in fact, that his originals split the CD almost evenly with some remarkable numbers (Bill Evans' "Time Remembered," John Abercrombie's "Ralph's Piano Waltz," and others) with no noticeable loss of excellence.

Alarie's quartet—featuring Jean-Francois Groulx on piano, Jon Geary on guitar, and Camil Belisle on drums, with guest spots from Josée Blondin on reeds and flute and Luc Beaugrand on piano—play a very modern, contemplative acoustic post-post-bop (one struggles to avoid citing ECM, but it's no use: this is a very ECM-sounding group). They shine on slow-churning mid-tempo numbers, and Alarie's compositions, such as "Deux Eaux" and "G.A.," are constructed to frame the soloists to often stunning effect. Jon Geary, in particular, plays marvelously in a style at times reminiscent of late 1970s Pat Metheny; he's so good, and so featured, that had the album been packaged as a two- leader collaboration, one would not be disappointed.

But Alarie is extraordinarily generous to all his musicians, with marvelous results. This generosity's only possible downside would be the album's opener, Luc Beaugrand's "Brico," on which the composer guests on piano, and plays so dominantly that one would swear this was his album: perhaps not the best way for the CD to begin. Still, no one can show up the leader, whose bass playing during the entire album is melodic, contrapuntal, virtuosic—and that's his comping. His solos are even better.

In fact, it is due to Alarie's great talent as composer and musician that he can share so much of his spotlight with his fellow players, and so much of his album with his fellow composers. Let's hope he doesn't wait another five years for his next one.

Track Listing: 1. Brico 2. I'm old fashion [sic] 3. No string's [sic] attached 4. Water is wide 5. Ralph's piano waltz 6. Lisa 7. D.N. 8. Deux eaux 9. Tap bass 10. G.A. 11. Time remember [sic]

Personnel: Fr

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Effendi Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Porto da Madama" CD/LP/Track Review Porto da Madama
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 25, 2016
Read "Which Craft?" CD/LP/Track Review Which Craft?
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Soldani Dieci Anni" CD/LP/Track Review Soldani Dieci Anni
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 5, 2016
Read "Invention of Knowledge" CD/LP/Track Review Invention of Knowledge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "Blood" CD/LP/Track Review Blood
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 14, 2016
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!