Drummer Bernard Primeau is a longtime fixture on the Montreal jazz scene, which he is credited for helping to revive in the 80s. His latest recording, "Un Souffle Latin," is a delightfully swinging Latin affair. The tight Ensemble has won numerous "Felix" awards (French Canadian music awards), and it’s easy to see why. The band is tight and polished, as are the arrangements. Primeau augments his quintet with a pair of percussionists for this recording. The Ensemble works their way through a set of originals and covers of Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane.
The opening track, "BTZ" by trumpeter Bill Mahar, finds him on flugelhorn with Andre Leroux on soprano sax. They blend well together and both deliver strong solos. Gillespie’s "Manteca" starts with a percussion workout before bringing in the bass, drums, piano, and finally, the horns. Whether playing a Latin beat or straight ahead, this band swings!
"Traffic Jamm’n" by Mahar runs through some tight ensemble work before he delivers a wonderful trumpet solo. Leroux features on tenor this time and shows a great bop sensibility. Coltrane’s "Naima" features Leroux’s soprano as it winds its way over the lilting rhythm. The tune bounces along giving solid backing to both Mahar’s flugelhorn and Eric Harding’s piano. Harding plays with a sense of melodic confidence. Primeau takes a short solo that displays great technique while keeping the rhythm moving forward.
Bernard Primeau has assembled strong soloists on top of a swinging rhythm section, playing cool Latin jazz that makes for a great CD.