August 26, 2021
Bassist Alex Lefaivre is yet another example of the excellent jazz musicians across this country who are less well known than they should be.
Lefaivre has been an award-winning musician/composer and educator for years in the Montreal area. His new album was patiently assembled in April this year when the COVID rules relaxed enough to get the band into the studio. The title, Naufragés, means castaways, perhaps reflecting the realities of the last several years with the music business. The quartet here has Eric Hove on alto, Nicolas Ferron on guitar and Alain Bourgeois on drums, along with Lefaivre on bass. It features three covers and five original compositions with a consistent energy and funky style. It’s possible that Hove might be the best known of the group, and while his solos are excellent (especially perhaps on Sin City), they are not any more substantial than the offerings of the other members. Guitarist Ferron is also very impressive.
It’s always fun to be pleasantly surprised by a playlist. The original compositions here offer excellent scope and variety, with nudges into a funky rock groove at times. Several of the cover choices are interesting. Time of the Barracudas is a Gil Evans/Miles Davis tune that explores the modal world of the era, while Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song is a straight-up, no-apologies tribute to the original. A very bouncy and perky original tune is Hommage Jazz á Passe-Partout (a tribute to a Quebec children’s TV show called Passe-Partout.)
This is a fine quartet that offers a perfect blend with the each of its players, and as a result the album is extremely enjoyable throughout. These castaways have found a way home. ★★★★ out of five
STREAM THESE: Reset, Time of the Barracudas