YUL reviewed by JazzTrail


Label: Multiple Chord Music, 2018

Personnel – Erik Hove: alto saxophone; Nicolas Ferron: guitar; Alex Lefaivre: electric bass; Mark Nelson: drums.

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In order to sonically describe the urbanity of his hometown – Montreal, Canadian electric bassist Alex Lefaivre assembles a solid quartet, establishing an interesting rhythm team alongside guitarist Nicolas Ferron and drummer Mark Nelson. Rounding out the group is alto saxophonist Erik Hove, who really knows how to build articulate phrases and crescendos, and then resolve them with no hesitation. This was exactly what he offered on the opening “The Righteous”, a laid-back 3/4 composition with an undeniable quest for beauty and singing melodicism. Yet, and before his turn, you may indulge yourself in a high-wire exteriorization by Ferron, who has a talent for saturated harmonies and melodic phrases sculpted with in-and-out luster.

The quartet is also in big on John Carpenter’s “Halloween”, the sole cover on the CD and where a cool, jaunty drumming and sparse bass accompaniment underpin the guitarist and saxophonist’s mysterious moves and individual flights. This is the first of three tunes played in five. The others are “Skyline”, a breezy yet disciplined effort with guitar/sax melodic unisons at the end, and the wishful closing piece “Yul”, which doesn’t reach an end without giving the drummer an opportunity to express himself with freedom.

Lefaivre doesn’t limit his actions to simply outline the harmonic progressions with notes of the chords since he improvises on six of them. He delivers in “Estelle”, a medium-tempo 4/4 song delineated by an amiable melody and rhythmically propelled by a jazzy brush drumming; “The Juggernaut”, which boasts a funk-enlivened bass groove over a well-crafted pulse that slowly bends into a rock tang; “Nostagia”, whose title discloses the mood; and also “Cascade”, which is positioned midway between a convivial Brazilian pulsation and the rigorous stability of a march.

Practitioners of an expressive modern jazz, the members of this quartet navigate different signature meters, maintaining typical song structures. The well-established communication among them drives us safely through reliable, engaging soundscapes.

        Grade  B+

       Grade B+

Favorite Tracks:
01 – The Righteous ► 02 – Halloween ► 07 – Cascade