All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Chantale Gagne: Wisdom of the Water

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
Chantale Gagné has adopted what seems to be the perfect persona for her album, Wisdom of the Water. The young, Montreal-based pianist appears here as an almost childlike water sprite, a naiad, who sometimes mixes fun with erudition too. This is a perfect persona for the metaphor that is brought to fruition as it rushes and bubbles, but always flows onward to what becomes an exciting conclusion on songs throughout the entire album. With the graceful flow of ever changing harmonic ingenuity, she swishes and swims through the proverbial river of sound, never visiting the same place twice, much like the idiom of jazz itself. Throughout, Gagné is reverent and mindful of the maestros of her illustrious instrument, yet she is never overawed by the bevy of pianists from whom she draws inspiration as she sways as gently as the melodies she writes, moving in waves, amphibious and sensuous.

Gagné's writing is almost silken and as aqueous, as her ear is tuned to the ever changing nature of the water to which she apparently pays tribute. For instance, the title track is a masterful mirror of the enormity of the body of water. It is from here that Gagné skips out into the infinite unknown of musical melody. She falls interminably as any composer would, tumbling and catching ideas as she streaks past. She survives and flourishes with candor and wit. This is what makes her songs absolutely genuine in melodic as well as emotional forthrightness. As the album progresses, this aspect of her music stands out with the dusky glow of brilliance, especially on such tunes as "The Light We Need," "Waking Dreams" and "Lullaby for Winter." Her sense of play is also self-evident as she strides her way through "Roseline," making delightful reference to some of the solo moments audiences have shared with another pianist, the late, great Jaki Byard.

The ensemble that Gagné has assembled for this date is truly inspired. Bassist, Peter Washington holds the bottom of the music with melodic and rhythmic ingenuity. Drummer, Lewis Nash is as sensitive an accompanist that the pianist could ever wish for. Combining with Washington, the drummer makes for an incredibly spectacular rhythm section. On that traditional song of freedom, "I Shall not be Moved," a song that has moved poets and politicians alike, Nash shows great mastery as he works the rhythm with brazen brush strokes. That Gagné chose to play the song "straight" and not completely re-imagine it is interesting, to say the least. And, of course, vibraphonist, Joe Locke plays imaginatively throughout and deepens the imagery and power of the water metaphor.

This is a fine album and might be the best introduction to a bright young talent from Canada, Chantale Gagné, a pianist and composer to listen out for in the months and years to come.

Track Listing: Wisdom of the Water; Over the Bridge; My Wild Irish Rose; Squinky Pete; Roseline; The Light We Need; Waking Dreams; I Shall not be Moved; Lullaby for Winter.

Personnel: Chantale Gagné: piano; Joe Locke: vibraphone; Peter Washington: bass; Lewis Nash: drums.

Title: Wisdom of the Water | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Self Produced


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Peaks of Light CD/LP/Track Review
Peaks of Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Denmark I Was Born CD/LP/Track Review
In Denmark I Was Born
by Gareth Thompson
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983 CD/LP/Track Review
In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read A Year Ago Today CD/LP/Track Review
A Year Ago Today
by Doug Collette
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Dreams of Belonging CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams of Belonging
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Ravensburg CD/LP/Track Review
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 5, 2017
Read "The Brightest Minute" CD/LP/Track Review The Brightest Minute
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 25, 2017
Read "Presence" CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read "Jorg Schippa's Kiosk" CD/LP/Track Review Jorg Schippa's Kiosk
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 24, 2017
Read "To the Bone" CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by John Kelman
Published: August 26, 2017
Read "Chants To The Sea - The Corium project" CD/LP/Track Review Chants To The Sea - The Corium project
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 30, 2018