Live jazz reappears in Quebec Festival Jazz Anjuin

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Seeing bassist Karl Mayyacht perform at the Imperial Bell Theater in Quebec on Sunday night likely concludes that he’s the happiest man in the room.

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There was no reason to be dissatisfied with the full house at the closing concert of the Festival Québec Jazz Anjuin. The high-energy electric band from Mayotte delivered a series of fusion songs that were as sophisticated as they were punchy.

Mayotte, who dominated and directed the show from the center of the stage, was the visual illustration of a musician who had not performed in front of an audience since the spring of 2020 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

He apparently played across the moon and took over from all the musicians who were told to smile more. For Mayotte, adding the rocker’s physical prosperity to his original musical presentation seemed like second nature. It combines the improvised sophistication of jazz with slamming backbeats and sizzling guitar.

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When it was time to announce it, Mayotte was not surprised, but thanked him for the opportunity to replay. There is no doubt that the listeners who embraced his music are as grateful as they cried out in gratitude for the young local hero and his band.

The event, which ran from June 17 to July 4, was able to herald the 2021 edition during the festival season, which most Canadians attended, demonstrating the spread of COVID-19 and the courage festival organizers. It is due to the defeat of Quebec. The Jazz Festival has decided to take back the pass.

After making an explosive debut in 2019 and halting the show during the first COVID-19 summer of last year. The Festival de Québec may have been the first major Canadian jazz festival to host a series of live concerts in 2021. That’s because the country is struggling to spur the worst of the pandemic.

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2020 is essentially Annus horribilis For musicians who have seen most concerts disappear from the abyss of COVID-19, Mayotte received great applause last year when it was selected for Radio Canada’s Revelation Jazz 2020 show.

Mayotte, a graduate of the jazz programs at Laval University and Magill University, enthusiastically waved the flag of the Quebec version of jazz rock fusion, not only the 1970s supergroups Return to Forever and Weather Report, but probably the Lord. To the Quebec phenomenon Uzeb in the 1980s.

His show at the historic theater in the St-Rock district in Quebec City usually brings together 450 people, but during the festival, only 150 jazz fans were seated at the table. It was a smart, grooved, non-stop fusion show. Mayotte and its core quintet are on the Fantosme and Pop de Ville Vol. 1, but outside the studio, not least thanks to the double-drum barrage of Mayotte’s companion Stephen Chamberland and special guest Paul Brochu, a drummer who made fusion glory at Uzeb in the 1980s. sharper blow.

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Mayotte and its musicians are about half the age of Brochu. However, they caught up with the legend of state fusion drama and excelled in the highly detailed music of seemingly internalized Mayotte.

Guitarist Gabriel Cyr was a particularly calm and sizzling soloist. Of course, he never staged mayotte, which received constant attention. He corrected the music with a bouncy jaco-style bassline and inserted pieces of finely crafted melodies, often in harmony with other musicians, for the time of his life.

Karl Mayotte’s Fusion Quintet, accompanied by guest drummer Paul Brochu, performed bigger jazz rock in front of the locals at the Festival Québec Jazz Anjuin 2021. Photo by Daniel Tranbray

The day before, it was singer-songwriter Lucy Roy who won the hearts of the Quebec crowd.

During her concert, Quebec singer and songwriter Lucy Roy put the words of writer Stanley Péan into the music.
During her concert, Quebec singer and songwriter Lucy Roy put the words of writer Stanley Péan into the music. Photo by Daniel Tranbray

Roy was actually back on stage after years of no music production, as well as the breaks caused by COVID. Roy and his band performed a set of original songs from the 2020 album What We Share, a collaboration with Montreal writer and jazz radio personality Stanley Pean, with English lyrics set by Roy. This opportunity was even more special because we provided. For pop music.

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Open-hearted songs such as Don’t Say You Loved Me and I Don’t Scare Easy were the highlights of Roy’s expressive cast and Péan’s confessional lyrics. Most touching were Song For My Daughter, which recognized the plight of women in rape culture, and Some Other Kind of Blue, a tribute to the late American jazz trumpet star Wallace Roney, who died last year in COVID-19.

After Roy’s set, a powerful concert by the Montreal-based CODE Quartet began. It is a collaboration of friends and associates which can be considered as a Canadian jazz orchestra.

The group consists of alto saxophonist Christine Jensen, trumpeter Rex French, bassist Adrian Vedaddy and drummer Jim Doxus.

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The principle of the quartet is simple. The lack of pianos and guitars that jazz groups often use to ensure harmony is a plus, not a minus. Jensen and the French burned the harmonic track without any help, thank you very much, and evenly fly away chords written in the score of their original composition for a spicy and catchy start. Is made. Rhythm’s longtime partners Vedady and Doxas provided organically evolving grooves, turning each piece into a short story in multiple chapters.

Works such as the quintessentially French drunken bluesy, Vedaddy’s urgent but inspiring gaze as he watches everything slip away, and Jensen’s scorching wind-up are full of vivid moods and moments. Made for a concert. O Sacred Head, Now Wounded, showed that 21st century jazz groups can sing captivating new songs from 16th century hymns.

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All of these works were featured on the Genealogy group’s debut record and were familiar to even the most enthusiastic fans. The gig ended with Jensen’s aggressive style, unregistered 2020 blues. Mike’s Doxa said it was a celebration song, not a depressing one. In the recall case, the group brightened up Thelonious Monk’s Let’s Cool One, but greeted it with a measured run.

While speaking to the audience, Doxa has said with enthusiasm on several occasions how grateful he and his bandmates are to perform for the audience again. But without a doubt, the gratitude was a two-way street, and after 15 months of silence it was deeply felt by the festival audience who welcomed live jazz into their lives.

Peter Hum was present at the festival and at Bonjour Québec – Tourisme Québec as a guest during the last week of the Québec Jazz Festival in June.

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