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Ville Emard Blues Band - Live  Montreal CD (album) cover

LIVE MONTREAL

Ville Emard Blues Band

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.96 | 5 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Very rarely has a group started out their career with a double live album, but then again VEBB was never a normal group, either. They had started by popular demand by releasing a "bootleg" album (needless to say fetching small fortunes) of their recordings the previous year, the tracks of which being present on this double album (whether in the original form or not is unclear) along with much new material. Looking at the line-up, you can start to imagine how powerful they must've been, but rarely were all of the musicians playing at the same time.

Recorded in one night at the Theatre St Jean in January 74, this double vinyl presented a weird sideways artwork and the music that went along this gatefold was just as puzzling. While the majority of the tracks present an excellent fusion-jazz, some tracks were not always that well inspired either and the succession was sometimes chaotic. After the soft fusion track of Comme Par Magie, comes a kick-ass RnR track Ain't No Way To Be where a not-very-judicious flute appears. Some of the singing (especially the female ones) may even appear a bit weak or out of place, but nothing shocking and this is a bit of a minor flaw that is quickly offset by the many spontaneous nature of the evening.

The tracks succeed in an inordinate fashion with a Clayderman-Vangelis-like Belle Inconnue, followed by funky soft jazz ballad then a 9-min blistering 100 MPH jazz-rock Kondy Donky leading to an interesting Va T'En Vite (this is a bonus track on the Cd reissue) and a superb Pixieland resembling Soft Machine in some weird way. The combo is so tight that most of the tracks are succeeding each other with barely any interruptions. The album keeps getting deeper and deeper in madness with the improvised (almost free-jazz) Poivrots Nvross (Neurotic Drunkards) and culminating in the 12-min Strangle full with drums (two drummers) and percussion solos (two players also). Then the group gets into their hit Yama Nekh (which will also be Toubabou's calling card), a superb funky-bassed semi-African piece.

This first album is a mixed bag (the songwriting is shared by too many people to give any sense to unity to this album), but with much more good elements than the rare sloppy ones, and the best moments are worthy of the best JR/F albums. This album holds very high historical importance in La Belle Province as it sort of marks the start of the next 5-year's prog-explosion that makes Quebec the North American centre of prog, all the while never being able to profit much from it because of the blackballing of most of their artistes once the PQ separatism crisis embroiled the situation.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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