La Bottine Souriante

Jusqu'aux P'tites Heures

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While their previous album hinted at the possibilities of merging Canadian traditional music and modern idioms, it was on Jusqua' aux P'tites Heures that La Bottine Souriante really first made a success of Quebecois fusion. The horn section that appeared on their previous release sounds loose and ready to improvise here, making free use of New Orleans blues and Brazilian jazz rhythms to make an entirely new type of music. The title, which translates to "Until the Wee Small Hours," is entirely appropriate, as there are moments when the soaring full band sounds like an inspired late-night jam session. What matters about this album is that it is still recognizably the music of French Canada, but it swings from start to finish in a way that nobody had ever tried before. The vocal style is more varied, with Yves Lambert veering close to a jazz-pop style on some numbers and Michael Bordeleau adding inflection to his singsong, half-spoken parts. While other musicians and groups have tried to graft jazz stylings onto traditional music with varying levels of success, this fusion sounds completely natural. The French-Canadians who moved to Louisiana to create the Cajun and Creole culture and the ones who stayed in Canada had been apart a long time, and it was about time that they got back together and made some music. La Bottine has often been compared with the Chieftains, and in this album they certainly parallel the more progressive and experimental side of that great band.

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