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Alex Clements: Press

Alex Clements paints in watercolor tones on Emily's Song, a heartfelt solo piano disc that puts the Alberta based composer's graceful melodicsm front and center. The title track and "A Song for Ethan," dedicated to Clements' children, have a sunny, lilting manner that juxtaposes innocence with inner strength, love of today with hope for the future. The other tracks may have stormier undercurrents or somber overtones, but Clements never abandons that core optimism, and his aching rendition of "I love you, Porgy" seems bathed in soft light.
Jazz Times
Hailing from different backgrounds and cultures—all on separate musical journeys that have brought them together for a distinct purpose—begs the question: what do American drummer John Abraham, Canadian pianist Alex Clements and Swedish singer Zara Tellander have in common? The answer: a musical train ride that brings them together on Between Stops, offering a blend of light contemporary jazz and Brazilian flavored rhythms bursting with energy.

This is not a traditional trio recording; the three musicians, essentially co- leaders, are joined by bassist Derek Jones, percussionist Kurt Rasmussen and reedist David Stambaugh, comprising the meat of the group. There are no traditional standards found on this recording, with each artist contributing four vibrant originals that showcase their talents, both as composers and musicians. The music is evenly divided between contemporary jazz vocals and spicy Brazilian- tinged charts that provide a spark for the swing in the music.

With no instrumentals at all, singer Tellander plays a pronounced role, her contralto voice delivering lyrics with a nice measure of grace and style. Abraham is a versatile drummer who plays vibes on two of his own compositions, "Falling" and "Brazilian Lover," with Kurt Rasmussen subbing on percussion. Clements, who is outstanding throughout the disc, plays accordion on Abraham's sensuous "Falling," and delivers a very strong introduction on the modern jazz of Tellander's "Empty."
The driving force behind this album has to be the steamy Brazilian flavored songs that move the music in a swinging direction, beginning with Clements' opening "We Are One Through The Music" and continuing on with the gyrating "Never Crossed My Mind." More such rhythms are found on "Bittersweet," "Falling," the samba beat pulse of "Into The Sky" and the sultry finale, "Brazilian Lover."

Assembling a fine cast of musicians and providing creative moving charts, Abraham, Clements and Tellander deliver a smooth and swinging musical train ride in Between Stops to their final jazzy destination, though a few more stops like this may be eagerly welcomed by jazz audiences who sample this disc.
Edward Blanco - Allaboutjazz.com
Solo piano may be the ultimate form of musical expression on the instrument. But a good percentage of the albums in that category seem to beg for a bass and drums, a boost of the rhythmic undercurrent to flesh out the keyboardist's ideas. Going solo, it's melody, rhythm and harmony in two hands, no safety net. The plus side of the solo approach is the freedom it allows the musician to follow his muse and expore his artistry outside the constraints of the ensemble. The question for the player is this: can you handle the freedom?

Pianist/composer Alex Clements handles the freedom admirably on Emily's Song, a set of eight original tunes that were inspired by people (a son, a daughter) and events in his life, plus three well-chosen covers.


Clements' influences seem to come from the gentler, more introspective group of pianists, those with a light touch and a taste for nuance and pretty melodies: Bill Evans, Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett. His playing reveals a tenderness, a romantic and introspective world view—the type of sound an inattentive listener can take for lightweight stuff. But Emily's Song can't be dismissed in that fashion; there's too much depth and beauty and on-the-sleeve emotion here.


These are sounds that are, start to finish, captivating, and the pianist seems particulary inspired on Gershwin's “I Loves You Porgy,” a flexible but loving exploration of the classic; while his original “Dinner for Two” has a prickly tone and gathering tension; and he plays Michel Legrand's “You Must Believe in Spring” with a lush, lilting gorgeousness on this top-notch solo piano outing.
What a wonderful experience to just 'sit' & imbibe & listen to such 'raw' piano talent as put forth through the hands of one Alex Clements. This is a jazz pianist with an enormous heart & soul for his chosen craft.. Jazz & The American Songbook!! His choice of Michel Le Grand's music to add to his already beautified project just shows more the fact that he's an inveterate romantic.
He'll break your heart...He broke mine! Hearing Alex, one definitely 'feels' the music. Next time your laying In bed with your lover, wife, girl...Whatever...Give he/she a nice warm hug and lose yourself in this guy's art. It's very easy to do. I'm in love again!!
It is always fortuitous to have such a multi-gifted artist take a step back and create music that conveys the emotional core of their compositions in a recorded format. To create a sound that is pure feel with no dictates or structures. A composer needs to get lost into their mind from time to time. This is what seems to occur with the latest release of pianist and composer Alex Clements new project “Waiting for you...” From the initial stroke of the first key, the music delves deep within the talents of this creative soul.

"Waiting for You" is a collection of his feelings set to his talents with a cast of very gifted sounds. Drummer Danny Gottlieb has sat with some of the genre’s greats such as Getz and Corea. His style balances the project nicely positioning a strong foundation for success. The sax, by Alain Bradette, brings to life “Time to Heal” with a soulful cry.

Mr. Clements artistry is very well epitomized within the cut “New Horizons,” in fact all the sounds seem to embrace the atmosphere on this spin. However, it is Clements piano strokes that grab your undivided attention with several tempo changes, the interplay between Bradette and Clements create a very satisfying push-n-play!

One only needs to sit back and close ones eyes to experience the angelic approach of Clements “All I Can Give,” a cut which soothes the most difficult of times. Again, the exchange between sax and piano examines and executes the expertise his compositions offer the genre. After numerous spins Clements has much to be content of for the project showcases the genuine heart and feel of fine artistry, from composition to arrangement, this project by Clements is nothing short of exquisite! Clements latest offering in 2007 is “Waiting for you…” A worthy performance for all to embrace!
Canadian jazz pianist and composer Alex Clements provides us with his latest gem of an album with “Waiting for You” that in some ways eclipses his previous recording (Emily’s Song). Clements leads a quartet that features renowned drummer Danny Gottlieb, Canadian saxophonist Alain Bradette and bassist Chris Queenen from Orlando.

Except for Alain Bradette’s “Mist On The Water,” and Greg Bush’s chart, the album presents original compositions including “Emily’s Song” the title piece from Clements previous recording which was written for his daughter. The opening track, “Blues for GB,” was dedicated to his jazz teacher, Greg Bush who introduced the pianist to jazz at the tender age of thirteen. He also includes the bossa nova tinged “Nuits de Paris,” written by Bush, is one of the most beautiful tunes on the album.

On the title track, “Waiting for You,” saxophonist Bradette takes the lead on an extended solo performance while the leader plays a bit of backup until his turn for a solo. Both Bradette, who plays the soprano here, and Clements, play formidable parts on the twelve-minute “Old Balsam” but in the end it is Clements who shines on the keys.

The tune “Time to Heal” is played slow and very mellow like a simmering ballad, while “New Horizons” picks up the beat in a livelier melody. Other notable scores include “The New Tune,” and “All I Can Give.”

Alex Clements borrows from the best of classical and contemporary jazz delivering an inspirational performance on “Waiting for You.” An exceptional pianist, his innovative charts provides a soft and warm setting to music that’s full of strong vibrant rhythms played with a touch of class.
Well-educated Canadian pianist/composer Alex Clements gets around. He composes for his alma mater, the McGill University’s Jazz Orchestra, and was a member of the peer assessment committee for grant endowments with the Canada Council of the Arts.

His performance career has taken him into North American jazz circles, highlighting his participation with numerous artists. And as a pianist, he’s firmly entrenched within the Bill Evans school, which is a facet that transpires during this delightful engagement, featuring renowned drummer Danny Gottlieb.

Clements kicks matters into high gear on the opener, “Blues for GB,” yet the preponderance of this studio set projects his light touch and softly executed voicings. He’s a melody-maker, as evidenced on the lullaby-type “Nuits de Paris,” where tenor saxophonist Alain Bradette’s yearning lines hone down an after-hours vibe. Much of this album is engineered upon stately themes and gently integrated mosaics of sound, but the quartet generates some heat via a gospel groove, spiced with funk, on “New Horizons.”

Clements bounces and darts across the keys on the peppy, swing vamp “Emily’s Song,” then steers the anthem-like ballad “All I Can Give” with somber and lyrically resplendent phrasings. Clements shines as a strong composer, but doesn’t break any new ground here. But that’s okay, since he is able to sustain a great deal of interest throughout. It’s a quality effort that commands repeated listens.
Alex Clements - Waiting for You
- “Waiting for You,” from Alex Clements, is an album from an eminent Canadian jazz pianist that has been graced with a heap of accolades. This artist and composer’s highest award was being honored with an Alberta Achievement Award, which was presented to him by the government of Alberta.

“Blues for GB” has an earthy blues touch to it, as Clements swiftly taps away at the piano along with saxophone work and light drum play. The rhythm of the track is incredibly catchy, and its pace picks up as the song progresses.

On “Nuits de Paris” the tempo of Clements’s piano playing noticeably slows and gets very sultry. Listeners can envision hearing this song as they amble along the Seine River in France with the one they adore.

With the title track, the love theme continues. Ravishing saxophone work accompanies Clements’ prowess on the piano. This is a song that could be heard in a motion picture detailing the romance between two characters and how one has ached for the other for a prolonged period of time. The sad strains of the piano and sax combined accentuate this notion for listeners.

On “Old Balsam” the blues, with a jazz twist, looms along with soft percussion work in the background. As the song progresses, the saxophone work hits some very high notes, which draws attention.

Alex Clements’s “Waiting for You” is a jazz record that is perfectly fit for enthusiasts of the genre. Clements has toured in the United States, Europe and even Southeast Asia bringing his brand of musical dissertation to the masses. They have responded with pure delight.
Alex Clements’ new CD entitled, Emily’s Song, is an intimate solo piano performance that indubitably sets this talented Pianist/Composer as one to watch for great things. The success of Keith Jarrett’s solo improvisation master piece, The Koln Concert has opened a whole new era for solo piano explorations. However, very few can really pull off a solo performance that is flowing and musical live, much less on CD. Alex Clements’ CD, Emily’s Song rises to the occasion with a strong flowing musical journey that will entertain and leave you wondering if possibly some pianist are evolving a third appendage with five more fingers!

Clements’ lets the listener know from the first note where the pulse of the music is and then builds the musical story line upon its solid foundation throughout the eight solo piano selections. A gentle waltz entitled, “A Song for Ethan,” opens the CD; the melody is developed through multiple key centers, giving the song harmonic interest as well as a deep reservoir for drawing creative ideas for improvisation. “Inspired By…” is definitely a nod in the Jarrett direction with a driving pulse that showcases Clements’ mastery of contrapuntal lines and developing musical layers.



Two Michael Legrand compositions are presented on Emily’s Song, “Pieces of Dreams” and “You Must Believe in Spring.” Clements also pays tribute to the great Bill Evans with the well known Gershwin classic “I Loves You Porgy.” Clements’ innovative approach to rich voicings and a daring harmonic treatment of the tune keeps the song fresh, while still staying true to the Evans style.

A solo performance CD is perhaps the greatest challenge of all, exposing every weakness in a player’s communicative skill, which usually results in a non-musical experience for the listener. Clements truly has met this challenge on Emily’s Song. Clements has the ability to create and sustain a musically flowing statement that will keep the listener’s interest. Highly recommended!
A solo piano album can be dreamy, inspiring, eye-opening or mellow and laid back. Alex Clements’ latest album is all that and more. Based in Montreal, Clements has a love for expressive ballads that tell the story of what’s on his mind and in his heart. His session simmers gently with a lovely lyrical glow that never fades. Included in his program of originals are two familiar pieces by Michel Legrand and one by Gershwin. Throughout the session Clements sparkles with a crisp and clean approach to the keyboard that enunciates each melody clearly with a well-defined drift. He’s dreamy with his slower pieces and driven on his livelier ones.

“Dinner for Two,” an original, drifts slowly with the kind of momentum that carries conversations at length. Unlike some relaxed affairs, this one probes with the motion of a fluid waterfall, as would a dinner conversation if the topics were new and fresh. Here, Clements imaginary dinner partners are excited to see each other and have much to share. The pianist’s interpretation of “I Loves You Porgy” captures a heartfelt mood that we recall from Gershwin’s folk opera. He feels the meaning and translates through his hands. “You Must Believe In Spring” flows sweetly with a gradual building of emotion while most of the album remains cool, gentle, and connected. Clements is an effective communicator who puts his feelings into music naturally.
Jim Santella - LA Jazz Scene
Like chamber music in the world of Classical music, solo piano in the world of Jazz can be a demanding art, both in the playing and the listening The player is totally exposed; the listener has sometimes less in the way of rhythm to fall back upon. After Keith Jarrett’s landmark disks, along with some others, the medium has remained a proving ground for the aspiring musician…

Alex Clements’ solo effort has less flash but more intimacy. He writes in a lyrical vein. “Song for Ethan” has a late Evan’s feel. It is a waltz with a sophisticated harmonic sequence and a contemplative melody. The improve that follows has a soaring expansive quality—and makes you want to hear him with a trio, since it swings increasingly. “Inspired By” features an almost Rachmaninovian rolling left hand accompaniment to an increasingly rhythmic overall feel and a restless melody. There is certainly a Romantic Era feel to some of these. The title track “Emily’s Song” has a Jazz waltz feel with a pendulum chord structure and lyrical line. The improve section shows flow and builds dramatically in a way again where a rhythm section would have enhanced it all. A sensitive performance of a Legrand ballad “Pieces of Dreams” follows. This guy doesn’t try to wow you with his technique; sheer musicality and taste predominate. His playing breathes with life. “Dinner for Two” is a good vehicle to anchor his vividly imaginative inventions. With a rhythmic drive and an interesting synthesis of Corea, Jarrett, and Evans influences, Clements stands out from the pack. Emily’s Song is a joyous listen.
Grego Applegate Edwards - Cadence Magazine December 2006 (Dec 1, 2006)
Emily's Song

The tranquil sound of the Canadian pianist, Alex Clements, has been heard all over the world, from the United States, Morocco, the Caribbean and so on. His smooth sound is known from all over.

The Government of Alberta actually presented him with a very high award; the Alberta Achievement Award.

The composer/pianist released his first solo album, Emily’s Song, which is inspired by the people in his life, and three of the songs are covers.

His piano technique gives off such an incredible, romantic, calming feeling, which could put anybody at ease. This album is deep, passionate, and full of talent, a definite must have for those long, cold, sitting-by-the-fire nights. 8/10
An enchanting solo effort from Canadian Alex Clements, Emily’s Song conveys an emotion and warmth that shines through in a contemporary/ classical vein with rich lyrical playing by a virtuoso jazz pianist. The album is essentially a set of soft and sensitive piano music presented with a light touch on the keys appealing to ones softer side.


Clements plays five original compositions of which two were inspired by his children.
The opener, “A Song for Ethan,” written for his son, begins the embrace of beautiful music that last through out the album. Penned for his daughter, “Emily’s Song” is played in a quick tempo mood as the pianist runs through the keys in firm crisp fashion. The next tune, “Inspired By” is an excellent example of an energetic classical sound that one might hear in a concert hall setting of classical music.

Prominently featured here are two Michel Legrand standards, “Pieces of Dreams” offered in a simple ballad style, and the familiar “You Must Believe In Spring,” which for me, is one of the most beautiful renditions of this immortal chart ever recorded. The Gershwin/Heyward “I loves You Porgy” is the other standard piece on this disc, presented in a slow ballad style played to the heart in a nine minute tribute to the musical style of the great Bill Evans.

Clements solo journey ends with the soft and tender sweet number “Waltz for Peace” completing a masterful performance of a relaxing session of wonderful music that we all have a need for from time to time.
ALEX CLEMENTS/Emily’s Song: Piano jazzman that’s been tearing it up north of the border, as well as around the world, sits still long enough to put the spotlight on just him and his piano. On the best tradition of solo piano dates, Clements is up for the task turning in a wonderfully textured date that almost makes you forget this is a one man army. He wears his feelings on his sleeve and you are never far from the real deal with this cat.
- Midwest Record (Dec 30, 2006)
Emily's Song, Alex Clements, piano. The key word for Alex Clements, I would think, is pretty. In a solo piano performance, Clements has chosen a combination of standards and original compositions, each with a flowing, uplifting, pretty presence. For example, Inspired By suggests that Clements has played some Chopin someplace in his career. Others, all worthy of hearing, include Pieces Of Dreams, I Loves You Porgy and You Must Believe In Spring. Several additional originals round out a very listenable, recital-like disc. Clements possesses a crystalline touch and I hope we‚ll hear more from him. Self-produced, 2006; Playing Time: 53:30,
EMILY'S SONG

Emily’s Song is an elegant sounding CD that features a wonderfully talented pianist, Alex Clements, who displays a magical touch with an inspirational solo piano performance. A product of our times, Clements borrows from the best in classical, contemporary, jazz and world flavours, he blends them together and delivers them up in an enchanting and delightful manner.

On “A Song For Ethan” composed by Clements for his son, he indicates in the liner notes that he finds amazement in the strengths displayed by his son. The song has a beautiful melody and finds Clements exploring the keyboards full range of emotions, with the tinkling of raindrops on windows and childhood nursery rhymes, hinted at in the foundation of the melody. The listener is transported through this range of emotion, joy, sadness, excitement and mystery.

The next song “Inspired By…” starts almost as a continuation of the previous song. You have to check the track to make sure it’s a new song such is the fluidity of Clements playing. Another well-written song with Clements playing in a style reminiscent of Keith Jarrett. This song set to a medium-paced tempo with the rhythm played on the left hand while the right hand plays some very impressive runs with a grand full sound.

“Emily’s Song,” another family member tribute tune, is a gorgeous blend of traditional blues and jazz. The song has a moderate tempo and a swinging rhythm. The number is played beautifully solo and would be outstanding as a trio piece. Picture a trio in the style of Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and Herb Ellis and you get the idea of where I’m coming from.

The CD features two Michele Legrand compositions, “Pieces Of Dreams” and “You Must Believe In Spring.” Clements maintains a warm, touching, yet cool approach in his interpretations. The emotion is always under control and held in check, the technique is flawless.

“I Love You Porgy” by Gershwin and Heyward is as the liner notes imply a tribute to the solo piano of Bill Evans, another cool and technically flawless pianist. The Clements version is one of the finest renditions I have heard. The song allows or motivates Clements to add more spirit and emotion to his playing adding tasteful trills and making wise use of dynamics, silence and accentuation with chords slightly off the beat and with a slight harmonic dissonance. A wonderfully touching and magical piece that has you sighing with pleasure.

The final song on the CD “Waltz For Peace” leaves you wanting more as every good CD should. With a taste of what could be, Clements lays down some magnificent fills, within an imaginative melody line that floats and sways. The song builds to a crescendo and gradually fades back to the intro verse in a melancholy way.

A fine offering of solo piano from an exceptional pianist. I would have liked the sound to have been hotter, it plays very soft and light next to a Jarrett CD set at the same levels.

Tracks:
A Song For Ethan, Inspired By…, Emily’s Song, Pieces Of Dreams, Dinner For Two, I Loves You Porgy, You Must Believe In Spring, Waltz For Peace
Emily's Song CD review. Same review as the Jazz Review
Alex Clements Suite No. 3, The Cycle of Life (ACR)

Among the many fine jazz musicians currently creating in the city is Alex Clements, a pianist/composer who arrived from Calgary to attain a Master's at McGill. Thankfully, he's stayed here. He's a first rate musician on this release, as his own compositions will attest. Vocalist Susanne Doucet, who wrote the lyrics for "Drew's Lullaby," is among the nine musicians who help make this a successful debut. 8.5/10 (Len Dobbin)
(Review of Alain Bradette's CD State of Mind)

Style: Contemporary Jazz

Musicians: Alain Bradette (tenor & soprano saxophones), Jason Carder (trumpet & flugel horn), Alex Clements (piano & Fender Rhodes), Mike Iapichino (trumpet), Bobby Koelble (acoustic guitar), Keith Koons (bass clarinet), Eddie Marshall (alto flute), Gerald Myles (drums), Keith Oshiro (trombone), Chris Queenan (acoustic bass)

Review: Although State of Mind is Alain Bradette's debut album as a leader he is not a newcomer; he already has a short but hard-hitting list of compositional accolades to his name, and is a full-time band member for Cirque Du Soleil's La Nouba. So, it is not surprising that State of Mind emerges as a confident and well-polished debut, in which Mr. Bradette establishes himself as a fully featured modern jazz saxophonist and composer.
In the title track Mr. Bradette identifies himself as an artist solidly in the post-Brecker tradition; we get the flawless chops, pretty sound, and dramatically swelling compositions that we expect. The supporting cast of musicians glimmer in all the right places, with the spotlight falling more often on pianist Alex Clements than anywhere else. Where the album disappoints is in its failure to provide the unexpected. Despite the inclusion of bass clarinet and alto flute among other eclectic choices in the instrumentation, the complete large ensemble appears on only a handful of tracks, and even then only in a background role. The album sticks instead to the usual saxophone and piano pattern with only a few exceptions.

Perhaps a benefit of sticking to a middle-of-the-road approach is the evenness that marks State of Mind. Mr. Bradette's approach on both tenor and soprano is consistent while his compositions manage to display myriad influences—from third stream, to post-bop—without making jarring transitions. The album displays a synthesis of a variety of modern jazz influences which result in an album that manages to be well-polished, pretty, and unobjectionable to both casual listeners and jazz connoisseurs, without the spectacular failures or successes that result from taking big risks.



Tracks: State of Mind, Promenade Sur St-Denis, 21 Août, Sitting on the Edge, Heartsong, My Secret Love, Morning Rain, Serina, The Woman Across the Room




Reviewed by: Isaac Laughlin
This week in Montreal there a pair of student big band concerts at McGill's Pollack Hall [555 Sherbrooke W]. Tonight Ron DiLauro leads McGill Jazz Orchestra II in a program that will include Thad Jones' "Tip Toe", Horace Silver's "Song For My Father", "On Green Dolphin Street" arranged by Mike Abene, "What's New" in a Bill Holman chart, a Lennie Niehaus arrangement of "Long Ago and Far Away" and the marvelously titled, "The 4,679,385th Blues In B Flat" by Rob McConnell. On Wednesday, it's McGill Jazz Orchestra I under Gordon Foote. Among the arrangements in their book are items by Bill Potts, Alex Clements, Bill Evans and Clifford Brown. On this occasion they will also be releasing "Conundrum" by the bands of academic years 1999-2000 and 2000-2001. It's # 7 in a series of CDs. Both concerts have 8 pm starts as does one by Joe Sullivan's students on Monday, December 2--an evening of Thelonious Monk compositions in the Clara Lichtenstein Recital Hall in the same building. Their last concert, which included works from the Miles Davis sessions, now known under the umbrella title, "Birth of the Cool", was a memorable one.
Une passion qui dure

Le Montréal Jazz Big Band (MJBB) célèbre ce mois-ci son 15e anniversaire par un grand concert qui nous permettra de réentendre quelques-unes des oeuvres qui ont fait le succès de ses programmes éclectiques. Ces dernières années, le MJBB et son fondateur, Philippe Hudon, se sont fait remarquer lors de plusieurs grandes manifestations musicales (Festival international d'Orford, Festival de jazz de Rimouski et lors des trois dernières éditions du Festival de Lanaudière). Le Conseil québécois de la musique lui remettait d'ailleurs lors de son édition 2000-2001 le très mérité prix Opus du " Concert de l'année - Jazz, Musiques du monde " pour sa prestation au OFF Festival de jazz de Montréal. Pour souligner cet anniversaire, Philippe Hudon et sa bande nous feront entendre des extraits de la version de Duke Ellington du ballet Casse-noisette de Tchaïkovski, des extraits de la pièce Jazz Images du jeune compositeur canadien Alex Clements, de même que des classiques du jazz afro-cubain (Dizzy Gillespie, Chano Pozo, Mario Bauza, Chico O'Farrill, etc.) mettant en vedette la magnifique section de percussions de l'ensemble. L'excellente pianiste Lorraine Desmarais se joindra au MJBB pour quelques piéces. Le 25 novembre au Club Soda.
While there may be some doubt that Ostinatocious is really a word, there’s no doubt that the McGill University Jazz Orchestra from Montreal, Canada, is really a band. This is the MJO’s eighth album, and to say it is up to its usual standards is the most earnest compliment one can bestow.

Ostinatocious spans the years 2002-04 with ensembles from each of those years taking part. The first five selections are performed by the 2004 orchestra, with four by the ‘03 group and two others from ‘02, including Bill Holman’s mercurial “The Git,” whose sprinting time is less than a minute. In each case, director Gordon Foote has his charges primed and ready, and as is always true of the MJO, there’s nary a misstep, no matter how precarious the path—which doesn’t mean the ensembles are more clinical than passionate, simply quite good at what they do.

If there’s a perceptible difference between this and other recent endeavors by the MJO, it lies in the choice of material, which is on the whole more adventurous, starting with the title selection (one of four compositions and seven arrangements by former students or faculty) and including Bob Brookmeyer’s lovely ballad “For Maria,” Marianne Trudel’s supernal “D’Hier à Aujourd’hui de St. Michel à Paris,” Darcy Argue’s frisky “Flux in a Box” and Alexander Clements’ opulent “Suite No. 4 Cycles (part 1).” Trombonist Paul Tarussov is showcased on “Maria,” as he is on Burton Lane/Alan Jay Lerner’s “On a Clear Day.” Tenor saxophonist Cameron Wallis the featured soloist on Wayne Shorter‘s “Infant Eyes,” baritone Paul Nedzela on “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” drummer Jon McCaslin on “The Git.” Pianist Jean-Marc Lafleur is outstanding on “St. Michel” and “Flux.” Others who raise their amicable voices include pianists Jon Day and John Roney, guitarists Steve Johnston and Jim Head, alto Colin Power, tenor Jon Stewart, trumpeter Steve McKnight, trombonist Jean-Nicolas Trottier and drummer J.D. Katz.

As I’ve asserted before (and am held to account in the liner notes), “no one could single [the McGill Jazz Orchestra] out as anything other than a professional working band.” Ostinatocious certainly does nothing to alter that opinion. Among college-level ensembles, the MJO remains at the head of the class.

Visit The McGill University Jazz Orchestra on the web.
La Press, Saturday November 1, 1997

Alex Clements

A fixture of the Montreal jazz scene. Alex Clements has concocted a delicate, melodious first album on an independent label. Starting from a basic concept (the cycle of life, hence the title…). Clements serves up ten original compositions and one cover (McCoy Tyner’s Quest for purpose) which evoke the different stages of our existence, from birth to rebirth, through adolescence and adulthood. Some pieces are arranged for trio, others for nonet, but most memorable is singer Suzanne Doucet, whose otherworldly voice is hauntingly present on three-quarters of the album. In the tradition of Keith Jarrett. Clements’ sensitive playing respectfully supports everyone without ever taking more room than is necessary. With its nicely rounded edges, its elegance, and some clever arrangements, this Cycle of Life is well worth a detour.
Jean-Christophe Laurence - La Presse
Concert with Montreal Jazz Big Band'
With help from partners, sponsers and government agencies, the Montreal Jazz Big Band can be regularly seen on various Montreal stages, especially at the Montreal Club Soda and Lion d'Or.

Throughout these concerts, we make an effort in getting the public acquainted with the classical repertoire, as written by the biggest names in jazz history, as well as original works by lesser known young composers.

Our repertoire includes works by Gil Evans and Miles Davis (Porgy And Bess, Sketches Of Spain), Duke Ellington (Nutcracker Suite), Count Basie, Jimmy Smith, Dizzy Gillespie (Manteca Suite), Chico O'Farrill (The Afro-Cuban Suite).etc.

Among the works of young composers, we are proud to hold the Cycles suite of Alex Clements. On October 18th 2000, we had the honour to present, as a premiere, a 60 minute jazz suite for big band, commissioned to Alex Clements by our big band, and titled Jazz Images.

The Jazz Images suite attemps to evoque in seven musical sketches the different eras that have marked jazz history , from Ragtime to Modern Jazz, through the Swing era

We are proud to announce that the Montreal Jazz Big Band under the direction of Philippe Hudon, has won the 2001 OPUS award for " Concert of the year - Jazz and World Music"
McGill Jazz Orchestra
Ostinatocious (FMJ)
Also known as "McGill big band one," the band(s) under director Gordon Foote can always be counted on to be of a very professional calibre. The 11 tracks here were recorded at three sessions done between '02 and '04, and come from a wide variety of composers - Thad Jones, Bob Brookmeyer, Bill Holman, Wayne Shorter and Marty Ehrlich, as well as students like Marianne Trudel and Darcy Argue. Students and former faculty members, like Jim Head, Chuck Dotas and Bret Zvacek, are among the arrangers. The impressive soloists include trumpeter Steve McKnight, guitarist Head, trombonist Jean-Nicolas Trottier, pianist John Roney and reedmen Paul Nedzela, Colin Power and Cameron Wallis. If you're a big-band fancier, you'll want to add this one to your collection. 9/10 (Len Dobbin)