Lisanne Tremblay: Violinization

Dan McClenaghan By

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Say "jazz" and the musical instrument that comes to mind might be the saxophone or the trumpet. Say "classical" and it's probably the violin. But there's a long history of players of that have taken that quintessentially classical instrument and moved into the jazz/improvised music world: Stephane Grappelli (1909-1997) and his swinging Quintette du Hot Club de France, Stuff Smith (1909-1067) with his fiery plugged-in approach that pushed swing towards a bebop sound; then there was the fast and hot playing Joe Venuti (1903-1978). And, most recently, we have Billy Bang, the man who came back from Viet Nam and attempted to heal the wounds with his avant-garde but always beautiful "violin-istics."

Now we have Violinization, by Montreal's Lisanne Tremblay. It is a strikingly successful debut, a sound that can be loosely categorized as chamber jazz, stirred with avant-garde, in large part because her group and her compositions sound like no one else. The music, crafted by Tremblay and her very talented quartet blends elements of the classical and folk worlds along with Afro-Cuban tints stirred up into a modern jazz concoction on a set of quirky and original personal statements, all of them penned by Tremblay.

The title tune opens the set, and again, the group dynamic glows—Rafael Zaldivar's sparkling piano declarations answering Tremblay's string poetry, drummer Philippe Melanson's splashy, low-key bustle setting up an of-kilter groove, bassist Remi-Jean LeBlanc's laying down a deep, organic pulse. "Change has a a relentless momentum in and out of its different instrumentations, with a gorgeously trilling solo by Zaldivar, leading into Tremblay's soaring violin.

On "Hacker," the quartet explores agitation and odd meters, a sense of anxiety, perhaps, at the ubiquitous inter- connectivity we now experience, for better or for worse, and "Tag" is as bright and frenetic and playful as the childhood game of the same name. "Stellar Coincidence" sounds oddly profound, with a collective improvisation coalescing into something ordered and beautiful, like the universe.

Lisanne Tremblay, a star on the rise with Violinization.

Track Listing

Violinization; Change; Corde Sensible; Hoppelaye; Hacker; Tag; Ataraxie; Stellar Coincidence; Cubanisada; Con Toda Palabra.


Lisanne Tremblay: violin; Rafael Zaldivar: piano, percussion; Remi-Jean LeBlanc: bas; Philipe Melanson: drums.

Album information

Title: Violinization | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Inner Circle Music


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