209

The Bernard Primeau Jazz Ensemble: Virage / Un Souffl

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Two high–powered studio sessions (from 1997 and last November) presided over by Canadian drummer Bernard Primeau, the first of which is enhanced by the prolific talents of American trombonist Ray Anderson. The second, Un Soufflé Latin (whose name speaks for itself, even in French), represents a comeback of sorts, as Primeau was diagnosed in 1998 with thyroid cancer. Has his brush with death slowed him down? Listen for yourself. To these ears, Primeau seems every ounce as earnest, aggressive and focused on Soufflé as he is on Virage, if not more so. On each of them, he draws his creative power from role model Art Blakey, as does his ensemble. While the music often hearkens back to the hard–bop era it never sounds dated, as Primeau and his companions lend every number a contemporary veneer whose contours are consistently fresh and exciting. Percussionists Alain Labrosse and Normand Bock give the Soufflé an extra kick, while trumpeter Bill Mahar and pianist Eric Harding form a bridge between the two sessions. Kelly Jefferson plays soprano or tenor sax on the first one, André Leroux on the second. Tastes will not doubt vary, but I prefer Jefferson (who’s especially persuasive on his tenor feature, Monk’s “Ruby My Dear”). And even though I sometimes find Anderson’s growls and screeches unlistenable, I do appreciate his virtuosity. Mahar (a splendid improviser, as is Harding) wrote “Southend Stomp,” “Numbly” and “Clouds” for Virage, “BTZ” for Soufflé, and another of his compositions, “Traffic Jamm’n,” appears on both albums, as do Dizzy Gillespie’s “Con Alma,” John Coltrane’s “Naima” and Primeau’s “Solo pour Elaine” (which is exactly that, an unaccompanied drum solo). The earlier session also includes “Dizzy–nest,” written by Primeau’s former band mate, pianist Oliver Jones, and Anderson’s bluesy vehicle for his “talking” trombone, “Pheromonical.” Completing Soufflé are Gillespie / Chano Pozo’s fiery “Manteca,” Penfold’s ballad “So Near, So Far” and Mahar’s arrangement of “Martinique Douce.” With so much overlap between the two albums, prospective buyers may be inclined to choose one above the other. If forced to make such a choice I would lean, ever so slightly, toward Soufflé — even though the playing time is nearly fifteen minutes shorter — as its Latin rhythms are, to me, more colorful and exciting, Mahar’s “BTZ” makes an excellent curtain–raiser, Labrosse and Bock help raise the intensity, and Primeau’s drumming is inspired throughout.

Contact:Distribution Fusion III, 5455 rue Paré, bureau 101, Montreal, Quebec H4P 1P7, Canada. www.bernardprimeau.com


Track Listing: Virage

Personnel: Virage

| Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Michael Gamble and The Rhythm Serenaders" CD/LP/Track Review Michael Gamble and The Rhythm Serenaders
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 19, 2016
Read "Blow" CD/LP/Track Review Blow
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 1, 2016
Read "What's Wrong" CD/LP/Track Review What's Wrong
by John Sharpe
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival
by John Sharpe
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Rings" CD/LP/Track Review Rings
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: July 3, 2016
Read "Flux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 26, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!

Buy it!