Pianist/composer Yves Léveillé is an in demand artist on the Montreal jazz scene. This CD shows why. He features an all acoustic quintet with the unusual front line of clarinet and sax. Throughout, Léveillé’s compositions are intriguing and draw the listener in.
The opening "Blues sur écoute" is a medium funk tune that glides along on an easy groove. Léveillé shows himself to be a formidable pianist. His solo is inventive, with a bit of New Orleans flavor to it. The different timbres of the horn combination ad a unique sound to the band. Both saxophonist Richard Savoie and clarinetist Mathieu Bélanger are strong soloists. Drummer Ugo Di Vito keeps it tight, pushing things along with bassist Marc Lalonde holding down the bottom.
"Clair-obscur" is a lovely ballad, while "Dirigeable" has a slight Latin flavor to it. "Dissidence" is another funk tune where Léveillé makes great use of the varied timbres within the band. At times he pairs the clarinet with the bass, at others with the sax. Bélanger really shines here. His clarinet has a full, woody tone-try to imagine Benny Goodman playing funk! The title track, " Zone Indigène," opens things up a bit with drums and clarinet playing free. Then the rest of the band comes in playing slow chords while the soprano sax solos on top. The piece moves along developing a slow ostinato with orchestration on top. The music evolves, ebbing and flowing, building in intensity until over twelve minutes later it recedes like the tide.
This is a fantastic CD with excellent compositions and arrangements, as well as strong playing from all the musicians. If you are looking for interesting contemporary music in an acoustic setting, I can’t recommend this enough.