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Pierre Labbe Sextet: Tromper Eustache

Dan McClenaghan By

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Saxophonist Pierre Labbe's Tromper Eusatchesounds as if it was written for a full orchestra, or a heavy metal rock band. He employs a sextet—two saxophones, guitar/piano/bass drums-for a dark, foreboding sound, with dense, near, drone textures on the opener, "Inquie Ouie." "Soup Au Lait" ups the ante on that atmosphere, guitar wailing over a thick, trudging bass/drum beat, saxophones weaving a gritty texture behind it. Then the guitar lays back and a searing sax solo ensues.

It's a hard sound to pin down, with lot a shape-shifting going on. Frank Lozano, Labbe's co-saxophonist, doubles on bass clarinet, to give "Tamsura" a murky, mysterious feeling—stealthy and exotic in front of a buoyant rhythm. This is a gorgeous ensemble piece, arranged to perfection, with pianist Francois Bourassa displaying a light touch inside the ominous atmosphere, the drums (Pierre Tanguay) popping, Clynton Ryder's bass lub-dubbing like a tale-tell heart.

"Vertige" sounds like a modern classical piece, abstract at first before shifting into wondrous dance groove, guitar crunching and scratching inside the beat. Its a song the conjures images of a street scene, a loud, brash band band on a scaffold stage above an undulating crowd. "Aparte" takes things down a couple of notches. It's a dark, smoky, late night ballad, with billowing curtains of piano and guitar behind a ruminative melancholy saxophone.

The title tune uses space judiciously, but maintains an abrasive mood—bursts of tempo and momentum, clashing guitar, saxophone with a chip on its shoulder—an invigorating wrap up to a a straight-though excellent offering.

Track Listing: Inouie Quie; Soup Au Laite; Tamsara; Vertige; Aparte;Tournis; Tromper Eustache; Agathe.

Personnel: Pierre Labbe: Tenor saxophone, flute; Frank Lozano: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Fracnois Bourassa: piano; Bernard Falaise: guitar; Clynton Ryder: bass; Pierre Taguay: drums.

Title: Tromper Eustache | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Effendi Records

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