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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 18, No. 2 October 2012

Jazz: Saxes of a kind

by Marc Chénard / October 1, 2012

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Flash version here.

Samuel Blais is one of our emerging new talents with a couple of tricks up his sleeve these days. Apart from his involvement in the programming committee of the Off Jazz Festival, where he will both perform and launch a new record (see endnote on the previous page), he’s put together an all-star saxophone quartet with himself on baritone and no less than Dave Liebman on soprano, Dave Binney on alto and Donny McCaslin on tenor.

As the young musician explains: “A year ago, both Dave Liebman and I played at the Quebec City Jazz Festival, so I approached him with the idea. He was totally into it. In fact he had several pieces written out for this instrumental combination, and I have some of my own, too. When I studied in New York at the Manhattan School of Music, he was one of my teachers, and so was Greg Osby, who I had originally earmarked for the project, but due to schedule conflicts he couldn’t make it.” With Dave Binney stepping in, Blais has found an equally top notch player, one with a long history of visits to our city. Likewise for tenorman McCaslin, who has guested here on several occasions, including an appearance with pianist Julie Lamontagne three years ago and a record for the Justin Time Label.

To the delight of our local fans, and lovers of the saxophone in particular, this quartet (as yet unnamed) will mark its debut on the second weekend of the month (12 and 13) at the Upstairs Jazz Bar. Four days later, this foursome will be heard backed by the University of Montreal jazz big band under the direction of Ron di Lauro. Each horn player will be featured in turn as soloist, with all them backed by the whole orchestra to close off the evening. Two days before this concert (15), there will be a panel discussion with the quartet during the afternoon, this activity also held at the University’s music faculty, atop the hill on Avenue Vincent-d’Indy.

Sandwiched in between is a day trip to Quebec City, where the quartet will play in the evening at the Restaurant Largo (on the eve of its jazz fest) and hold a masterclass in the afternoon at the Université de Laval. An event not to be missed, wherever you are!

» Upstairs Jazz Bar (www.upstairsjazzbar.com) 931-6808 It is highly recommended to reserve in advance. Two sets per evening, cover charge for each.
» Université de Montréal, Music Faculty (514-343-6427)
» Festival de jazz de Québec: www.jazzaquebec.ca

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Halloween Big Band Bash

The Ratchet Orchestra (an almost 30-piece outfit) will treat you to its own tricks. At the same time, it will be launching its first commercial release on the Drip Audio Label. Join in the fun at La Sala Rossa.

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