Canadian trio Provost Lachapelle Brochu bills itself as an offshoot of the classic Jimi Hendrix group and Pat Metheny’s trio with Jaco Pastorius and Bob Moses. On their latest CD Live Au Va-Et-Vient their style tends toward the latter. Metheny and Pastorius always insisted they sounded more intense live than they did on Metheny’s ECM debut Bright Size Life, and this CD gives you an idea of what that sound must have been like. Provost and Lachapelle definitely take their soloing cues from Metheny and Pastorius, while Brochu’s drumming displays a wider dynamic range than Moses was allowed to show by the European label.
The opening cut, "Repli Strategique," sets up the menu for what you’re going to hear throughout the album. Tight ensemble passages evolve into passionate solos, with each member of the trio getting his licks in.
Provost’s "Urban Blues" reminds one of Metheny’s experiments with the music of Ornette Coleman, with a fine guitar solo coming out of an Ornette-like blues head while Lachapelle and Brochu move over to more Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette-styled back up. This cut builds to a wild climax, so watch out! Lachapelle solos with Jaco-like double-stops and Brochu goes polyrhythmic on a beautifully executed drum solo. There are no solos for solos’ sake on this album. Everyone has something to say.
Other highlights include "Parfum d’Automne," a beautiful up-tempo theme reminiscent (oddly enough) of Larry Coryell; "L’Irlandaise," a Jaco-type composition that reminds the listener of "Continuum" from his classic solo album, combined with Metheny-type New Chautauqua guitar stylings. "Short Life" rocks out more like Tony Williams’ Lifetime, circa Emergency.
Though the compositions on this album have very recognizable roots in past albums and groups, this is rarely distracting to the listener. Provost Lachapelle Brochu’s passion carries the day. This is an exciting work from beginning to end.