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Labbé; Pierre, Sextet: Tromper Eustache

A finalist for the 2010 Opus prize, awarded by the Quebec Musical Council for its recording Manivelle, the Pierre Labbé Sextet are a unusual beast. An animal seldom seen and even rarer to be heard inciting genre boundaries to come crashing to the ground and those caused to flee at the word jazz proved wrong once more. Yet is Tromper Eustache jazz? Well, with two saxophones, piano, guitar, double bass and drums (and occasional flute and clarinet), you'd suggest so and yet the sounds the sextet create will tell you something different, at least some of the time. Step into the dark film-noire of "Aparté" for a dank tale that creates uncertain atmospheres and threatening scenarios. Or the title track to encounter sparse arrangements that suddenly evolve through growth spurts of wailing sax and jagged piano into crashing crescendos, before retreating from whence they came.

Different moods are a given, no emotion left unturned as the short, beautifully melancholic "Agathe" closes the album in thoughtful style. While "Vertige" positively drips with an inner turmoil which is released through a thrumming bass line and utterly engaging percussive work – the latter dancing and darting from hi-hat to snare, snare to cymbal, cymbal to hi-hat; underpinning some superb Francois Borassa piano in the process. However it's the expertly executed exuberance of "Soupe Au Laite" where drummer Pierre Tanguay really exceeds expectations, a groove so thick and tasty lain down as challenge to the guitar of Bernard Falaise, which steps up to the mark again and again. However Labbé and Francisco Lozano's sax work and Clinton Ryder's bass bounding isn't exactly overshadowed as they exude confidence and excitement. In ways it reminds of Taylor's Universe at their most full on, yet the similarities are more in ethos than they are in actual execution.

Involving and engaging from the off, Tromper Eustache is an album that sucks you in to a different way of thinking, changes your focus towards the music and deposits you at the other end, richer for the experience.

Track Listing
1. Inouie Quie
2. Soup Au Laite
3. Tamsara
4. Vertige
5. Aparte
6. Tournis
7. Tromper Eustache
8. Agathe.

Added: October 17th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Effendi Records
Hits: 1988
Language: english

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