Recorded live at the Théâtre La Chapelle, Montreal, in February 1996, Torticolis (Stiff Neck) closes the cycle of Jean Derome et les Dangereux Zhoms, an outfit which performed from 1993 to 1996 and released two previous CDs on Ambiances Magnétiques. Six of the eight pieces featured here are new compositions, the two exceptions being "Zuripari" (from the band's first CD Carnets de Voyage) and "Anchive" (from Navré), both considerably augmented and transformed. Torticolis shows a nice blend of the first album's funny craziness and the second's more serious and complex tunes, but it also allows more room to free improvisation and chance meetings. Jean Derome's writing is delicate, energetic ("Saalfelden"), and often contrapuntal ("Le Retour"). A cross between new jazz, avant-rock, and free, the music of Les Dangereux Zhoms is very colorful and communicates a sense of ease and well-being. Highlights include "Saalfelden," "Le Retour," and "(Couché Su'l Dos Tout Nu Su'l Tapis Avec Un) Torticolis" ([Lying Naked on My Back on the Floor With A] Stiff Neck), a warped jazz ballad. Torticolis brings a strong conclusion to this chapter of Derome's career. The album was also released as part of the three-CD box set 1994-96.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture