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21 juillet 2005

Montreal Jazz Fest: Melody Is King

Melody reigned supreme at the 26th edition of the Montreal Jazz Festival. In an idiom that has often been construed as obsessed with complexity, the top improvisers and composers are crafting indelible melodies...

...My third show at the Spectrum was drummer Manu Katché's project, Tendances. Known for his work with Peter Gabriel and Sting, among others, he also has a pedigree as a jazz drummer.

This new project featured Franck Avitabile on piano and Rhodes, Alex Tassel on flugelhorn and loops, and Gidas Boclé on bass and laptop. The tunes were supremely melodic, and the band was tight on cues and endings. However, I didn't feel that the band has been together long enough to turn these songs into more than the sum of their parts. The album was recorded with Polish musicians and featured Jan Garbarek, who was not with this group.

Also, Katché uses cymbals brighter than I usually like, and the drums often overpowered the rest of the band. Whether that was the fault of the sound system or Manu, I can't say. Avitabile was a great revelation for me, though. He's got quite a handle on the tradition but ultimately sounds like himself...

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