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Ten new compositions by Jean Derome played by Trio Derome Guilbeault Tanguay on this first album of sophisticated group playing with ample room for improvisation.

Derome Guilbeault Tanguay, Trio
10 compositions de Jean Derome

Derome Guilbeault Tanguay, Trio: 10 compositions de Jean Derome (Ambiances Magnetiques)
Label: Ambiances Magnetiques    
Released in: Canada    

"A cult Montréal jazz band, Trio Derome Guilbeault Tanguay is loved for its irresistible swing, audacity, sophisticated group playing, highly original repertoire and authentic style. All these elements are the result of a vast comprehension of the history of jazz, not to mention a vigorous proposition as to its reinvention. With this first album, the Trio delivers ten new compositions by Jean Derome.

Each note of the bass line in Marcher sur des braises (Stepping on Hot Coals) has been written slightly before the beat, as if one wanted to touch the stove element (or to step on hot coals!) and was afraid to get burned. The structure of the piece is rather standard (it evokes Impressions or So What), but the shifts between 8-bar and 6-bar sections give it a distinctive drive.

As indicated by its title, Vérone (Verona) was written in Verona, Italy, while on tour with Fred Frith and Keep the Dog in the early '90s. The piece is built over a D pedal but presents different modal colors, particularly in the B section where the harmony explores modes in a tense relationship with the fundamental. Each musician is constantly presented with the option to play the ostinato or to play a slow or double-time walking line. The A section is in 4/4, but there is a 3/4 bar hidden in there somewhere in order to destabilize the jazzmen's tendency to play on auto-pilot. The B section is in 7/4.

L'Africaine (The African) adopts a meditative mood established by an ostinato bass riff switching between 6- and 7-beat bars. The head consists of only a few notes followed by an ever-changing modal improvisation inspired by the flexibility and rhythmical creativity of African singers. As for Pierre Tanguay's percussion work: he is playing on the wood logs used to heat the cottage where we were recording the album.

Pangolin is an old composition. It has rarely been performed live, but I often play it on the piano. The head appears three times, but the accompaniment for the third occurrence shifts from 12/8 to 4/8 time, giving the impression that the floor has just vanished under your feet. The pangolin is a large, massive, slow and short-legged mammal resembling an anteater or wolverine with scales.

Étymologie (Etymology) goes back to the early '80s. It was written as a tribute to Ornette Coleman. The piece is only 7 bars long and is highly difficult in terms of rhythm and harmony, mostly because of the rhythmic shifts of the chord chart. The head is reminiscent of the speech-singing style of some of Ornette's heads, but it also refers to Monk. Étymologie was embedded in the piece Les Aventures de Sacha le chat, released on the LP Le retour des Granules.

La baignade (The Swim) was written for Jeannine Gagné's film Au fil de l'eau. The piece is built over a bass ostinato switching rather unpredictably between bars in 5/4 and 6/4. The head introduces more rhythmic rifts, including some 5/8 figures dancing and hovering over the bass line.

Que'kun! (Som'one!) is the word my daughter Raphaëlle used to utter as a baby whenever she heard someone at the door. I also remember she used to say "noune" for mouche (fly) and "wawane" for fromage (cheese). The 3/4 piece is in AAB form, but the B is only subtly different from the A. Que'kun! evokes an unknown and unexpected visitor knocking at the door; he represents both a threat and a chance for change.

Fluide (Fluid) is a piece without any fixed bars, written à la a Gregorian theme. Saxophone and bass play the head to the octave, and then the several scale options opened by the head are investigated and freely developed through improvisation.

Cannelle (Cinnamon) is probably the oldest piece appearing on this album; I must have written it in the mid-'70s. I often performed it on flute (I only played the flute back then) with the bassist Claude Simard, who played in Nébu, the group started by the pianist Pierre St-Jacques. Cannelle's head reminds me of the music of Dave Holland and I dedicate it to him. The apparent simplicity and the jovial, almost "Country & Western" mood of the piece hide in fact some fearsome rhythmic and harmonic complications.

Michka was premiered by the trio for the music of the film La position de l'escargot by Michka Saäl. The music of this film has been composed by the Derome Guilbeault Tanguay trio, almost entirely by freely improvising to the images (the same method Miles Davis used for Louis Malle's film Ascenseur pour l'échafaud), except for Michka, which had been previously recorded to be used as background music in a scene where the main character is listening to a jazz record."-Jean Derome

"Jean Derome. Born Montréal, Québec, 1955. esidence: Montréal, Québec. Composer, Performer (saxophones (alto, baritone, soprano), flutes (flute, bass flute, piccolo, alto flute, recorders), keyboards, small wind instruments (ocarinas, jew's harp, game calls, toys...), percussion, invented instruments, voice)

One of the most active and eclectic musicians on the Canadian creative music scene, Jean Derome has managed to earn the recognition of a larger public, a rare feat in that field. Thanks to his large-scale musique actuelle projects, his compositions, his work as an improviser, his jazz groups and his music for the screen and the stage, Derome ranks as a major creative force, in Québec and abroad. He is experienced and innovative on both saxophone and flute, and his unique writing style cannot be mistaken for anyone else's. Sensitive and powerful, his music often features a funny strike that makes its complex nature more inviting.

Ever since Nébu (one of Québec's first avant-garde jazz groups) in the early '70s, Derome has been consistently renewing and diversifying his approach of composition. He impressed audience and critics first with the flute, then with the saxophone, as a lead character in the musique actuelle underground. He took part to the various artists' collectives looking for new ways to express themselves freely, without esthetic or social constraints, including the Ensemble de musique improvisée de Montréal. Later, in the early '80s, he co-founded Ambiances Magnétiques, a collective and record label that raised his profile at home and introduced his name to the outside world. Among his numerous projects, let us mention the duos Les Granules, Nous perçons les oreilles and Plinc! Plonc!, the dynamic group Jean Derome et les Dangereux Zhoms, and the large-scale projects Confitures de gagaku, Je me souviens - Hommage à Georges Perec and Canot-camping. Most of these projects are based on a unique form of synergy between composition, structured improvisation and genuine creative madness, all this articulated with unmatched playfulness. In 1992, Derome became the second artist to be presented with the Freddie Stone Award (bassist Lisle Ellis was the first).

Besides improvising on a regular basis with Ambiances Magnétiques' members and appearing in their projects, Derome has also shared the stage with several musicians of international stature, among others Fred Frith, Lars Hollmer, Louis Sclavis and Han Bennink. He performs regularly all over Canada, in the US and in Europe. He received a Prix Opus in 2001 for his exposure abroad.

Lately, jazz circles have been praising his undisputable qualities as a jazzman, thanks to the Thelonious Monk tribute project Évidence, the Normand Guilbeault Ensemble (whose Mingus Erectus CD is devoted to Charles Mingus' music), and the much-lauded Derome Guilbeault Tanguay Trio.

Although Jean Derome writes tirelessly for his own projects, he is much in demand in the fields of film, theatre and dance. A short list of this side of his work would have to include his numerous scores for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), especially for films by John Walker, Jacques Leduc, Fernand Bélanger and animated films by Pierre Hébert, Michèle Cournoyer and Jean Detheux; his incidental music for Théâtre UBU, Théâtre de Quat'Sous and Théâtre du Nouveau Monde; not forgetting his work with several top choreographers, including Louise Bédard, Andrew de Lotbinière Harwood, Daniel Soulières and Ginette Laurin. Other music ensembles have commissioned works from him, including Tuyo, Bradyworks, the Hard Rubber Orchestra from Vancouver and Fanfare Pourpour. Incidentally, Derome is the musical director of the latter.

Over thirty years of music and 70 record credits later, Jean Derome still has sleeves bursting with tricks."

-ActuelleCD (

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Ambiances Magnetiques
Musique Actuelle
Jean Derome
Trio Recordings
Trio Recordings
Before April-2006

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Price: $14.95
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Shipping Weight: 2.00 units

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Product Information:

UPC: 771028112128

Label: Ambiances Magnetiques
Catalog ID: AM121
Squidco Product Code: 2947

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2004
Country: Canada
Packaging: Cardstock foldover

Jean Derome-saxophones, flutes

Normand Guilbeault-contrebasse

Pierre Tanguay-percussion

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Track Listing:

1 Marcher sur des braises 4:47

2 Vérone 6:56

3 L'Africaine 8:47

4 Pangolin 5:48

5 Étymologie 3:37

6 La baignade 4:06

7 Quek'un! 5:57

8 Fluide 4:27

9 Cannelle 4:14

10 Michka 4:50