Pierre Cartier

Les Fleurs du Tapis

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Les Fleurs du Tapis is bassist Pierre Cartier's first album for Ambiances Magnétiques, his third as a leader. Credited to the Pierre Cartier Ensemble, this is one of the jazziest items in the Montreal label's catalog. Cartier's main influence is Thelonious Monk (with a bit of Mingus too) and it can be felt throughout the album, especially in the harmonies (lots of minor seconds). One must also understand that his ensemble has the same lineup as the Monk-tribute trio Evidence (Pierre Tanguay on drums, Jean Derome on saxophone), with the addition of saxophonist Jean-Denis Levasseur. Cartier's music leaves little place for free improvisation, but it is not rigid; it flows uncertainly, mainly because the bass always seems to be wandering between tonalities (something obvious in "Tortue Marine"), but Tanguay's drums never move far away from the beat. The traditional free jazz head-solo-head structure appears frequently. The dual voices of the saxophones constitute the main feature here, complementing each other, playing off each other. Cartier's melodies are inhabited by soulful sensibilities when the mood is soft (the beautiful theme in "Thème Pour Maurice B.") and by the urgency of free jazz when the pace gets faster. But, not unlike the man himself, his music tends to be self-effacing. It doesn't impose itself. His project Chansons de Douve is more ambitious and memorable.

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