|The young guitarist Antoine Berthiaume, who released in 2002 an album of duets with Fred Frith and Derek Bailey titled Soshin, unveils his second effort for Ambiances Magnétiques, Leaves and Snows, a project also featuring pianist Quentin Sirjacq and sound engineer Norman Teale. This meeting of fresh talents has given birth to a brilliant, highly open, poetry-filled collaboration.
Certain meetings give such good results that one wonders if something more than luck was at play. In the wonderful setting of Mills College, California, Quentin Sirjacq and Antoine Berthiaume are both in Joëlle Léandre’s improvisation class. They are both native French speakers, they both lead a jazz group and they share a taste for adventure — enough common points to spark the beginning of a great collaboration. Piano and guitar: a rather unusual, often eschewed pairing that delivers at their fingertips a ground for new explorations; a license to discover new sounds and try out new musical ideas.
Norman Teale will be the cement that will make this album possible. Teale’s talent was unveiled in the course of the collaboration and it became gradually obvious that his work with electronics and mixing was becoming an integral part of the group. And so Sirjacq and Berthiaume gave him carte blanche.
It is often said that jazz is about innovation while paying due respect to tradition. Leaves and Snows is the work of three young musicians eager to make their voices heard and to share their music — very “actual” music, because it successfully brings together their diverse musical identities (jazz, contemporary music, rock…) in a free improvisation context. The result: music that addresses the listener, inviting him/her to widen his/her musical perception through countless variations and colors, without ever weakening the coherence of its poetical approach.
Guitarist, improviser and composer Antoine Berthiaume is active on the jazz, “musique actuelle” and contemporary music scenes. He performs live regularly at the helm of a number of groups, including Les Chemins de la route, the Berthiaume-Donato-Tanguay Trio, and L’Hexacorde. He will be performing at the next Montreal Jazz Festival. Pianist and composer Quentin Sirjacq hails from France. His eclectic musical interests keep him active as an improviser, a new music performer, and a composer of incidental music for film and dance. American sound engineer, producer and composer Norman Teale is a graduate student in Mills College’s “Electronic Music and Recording Media” program.