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Maneige - Live À L'Évêché (1975) CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.16 | 27 ratings

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4 stars This album is a complete gem. Most of it is recorded live at the club 'L'Eveche' in Montreal in November 1975, just a few months after "Les Porches" (their second album) was recorded, and before Jerome Langlois left. It contains a number of compositions never recorded in the studio. These include Langlois's very long epic "La Balloune", and Gilles Schetagne's "Bullfrog Dance", both of which were written for, but could not be included on, Les Porches. There is also the excellent "Les Epinettes", "Mambo Chant", and "1-2-3-4-5-6", wonderful music highly evocative of their first album. In many ways, this represents the missing Maneige album that should have followed Les Porches if only Jerome Langlois had not left. The sound quality is very good given the context (not excellent, but really good for a non-professional recording). Being a live recording, the performance is a bit more raw than in the studio, and there are a couple of wonky notes (in the guitar solos, an occasionally out of-tune-clarinet, couple of off-time drum fills, etc), but given this was never intended for release, it is actually quite remarkable, as the music is very complex. While all of the pieces here are great, the real treat is Langlois' 29-minute "La Balloune". This is similar in structure to "Le Rafiot" from the debut album, and "Les Porches de Notre-Dame" from their second album, largely based around themes played by piano and flute. Once again, a lot of emotive and playful themes, with some dark and dissonant passages, some light dances, some jazzy solos and improvs, even some "night in Berlin" la la vocals, and a lot of really amazing musical piano passages, all flowing together. Wonderful music! I think this may in fact be their best-ever composition. There are also two early pieces recorded and broadcast live at a Montreal radio station in January 1974, before their debut album. One is the long 'Le Rafiot' (which takes up the first side of their debut album) and the other is a short, but never-before released but really excellent (and a bit Canterbury-esque) "Manege" (not sure why the different spelling). While the sound quality is not as good on the live radio recording of "Le Rafiot" (cymbals are far too loud), these are still a very welcome bonus to a great live set. I actually find myself putting this album on more often than "Les Porches", which speaks to the very high quality of the music here. On the whole, I rate this 8.5 out of 10 on my 10-point scale (would have been even higher with better sound).
Walkscore | 4/5 |


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