Bernard Primeau's name is a household word in his native Montreal. The drummer has been a part of the Canadian scene since the fifties. In those early years, jazz musicians had to play in strip-clubs where they enjoyed a degree of musical freedom. A veteran of the Montreal show bands and small jazz groups, Primeau left the city for San Francisco during the early seventies but returned in 1976 to lead a hotel dance band. The eighties brought a steady gig with the Oliver Jones trio.
In 1985 Primeau formed his own jazz sextet and this release is his 7th recording as a leader. The Montreal Jazz Ensemble is a very classy outfit and attracts a large and loyal following. The inclusion of guest artist, Hugh Fraser, is a special treat for fans of the West Coast trombonist.
With the single exception of Caravan
, all compositions are by Hugh Fraser and trumpeter, Bill Mahar. Both writers are also featured soloists on various tracks as are pianist Eric Harding and the hard-swinging Andre Leroux. My personal favorites include the beautiful Concerto For Jazz Orchestra
by Hugh Fraser and Water Colors
penned by Bill Mahar. The soloists are at their very best on Mahar's Tholean Web
, a piece of special merit, in my opinion. Evolution
is nominated as "Jazz Album of the Year" for Quebec's prestigious ADISQ Awards
and justifiably so.