August 15, 2006
Jazz, Dixieland

Album Review

In 2004, Canadian trumpeter Joe Sullivan's big band cut the first of several albums for the Effendi label. Its 11 pieces, which date from the years 1991-2000, showcase Quebec's leading jazz orchestra and soloists in a stirring combination of colorful charts and passionate improvisations. "Looping" was composed by Lafléche Dorè, who until his untimely death served as this band's first-chair trumpeter. That position was occupied in 2004 by Jocelyn Couture, a native of Victoriaville who is said to have been strongly influenced by Maynard Ferguson. The rest of these compositions are credited to Sullivan and baritone saxophonist Jean Fréchette, who like Dorè, worked with La Bottine Souriante, a modern progressive Québécois folk band. "Colville Kids," which dates from 2000, features alto saxophonist Rémi Bolduc. Among the many instrumentalists who make this band worth experiencing are saxophonist André Leroux, guitarist Mike Berard, pianist André White, and bassist Alec Walkington. Perhaps inevitably, Montreal's Joe Sullivan is sometimes confused with an identically named, hard-boiled, Chicago-based pianist from an earlier generation who operated in cahoots with staunch traditionalist Eddie Condon and passed away in 1971. Like any and every offering from the Canadian Sullivan, the album at hand is made of music marbled through with poetic glimpses of the land and its peoples. Precise explanations for some of the geographical references can be elusive, and probably should remain that way. Colville, for example, is the name of a lake in the Northwest Territory and an Indigenous North American reservation just south of the Canadian border in Washington State. "Golden Arrow Suite," which may or may not have something to do with a prayer attributed to the Carmelite Sister Marie of Saint Peter, is a composite of impressions dating back to 1993. Its four movements are designated as "Flights of Fancy," "Mourning Becomes the Rain," "White Water," and "Rumors from the Soul," which was the title track of an album released on Nu Jazz Records in 1997. The Joe Sullivan Big Band'a first Effendi release is strongly recommended as a vibrant embodiment of the large ensemble jazz tradition in full flower along the northern shore of the River St. Lawrence just after the dawn of a new millennium.
arwulf arwulf, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. On the Roof
  2. Icebreaker, Pt. 1
  3. Icebreaker, Pt. 2
  4. Colville Kids
  5. Looping
  6. Ann
  7. Golden Arrow Suite, Pt. 1
  8. Golden Arrow Suite, Pt. 2
  9. Golden Arrow Suite, Pt. 3
  10. Golden Arrow Suite, Pt. 4
  11. Pete Power
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