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Aquarelle - Live In Montreux CD (album) cover

LIVE IN MONTREUX

Aquarelle

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.84 | 13 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars After their artistically successful debut album, Aquarelle managed enough a notice to be invited to one of the biggest Jazz Festival in the world, in Switzerland, the city of Montreux. This second record is the recording from that gig, where they presented a whole new set of tracks bar one. The line-up is almost the same but Sharon Ryan replaced the departing A-M Courtemanche. The least we can say is that their new set was already well-rehearsed and all tracks of an amazing quality (and played flawlessly - no back-up). It got released on the label WEA, but this was done at lesser cost, something a few jazz-rock groups having difficulties in finding someone wanting to pay for the production and sessions of a genre on a rapid decrease of interest from the public.

From the opening Machine to the closing La Nouvelle, the first side of the slice of wax is simply astounding in tightness and Ryan's occasional vocal wails bringing a wild twist to their music. Leader keyboardist and main composer Lescaut makes sure that everyone gets plenty of space to shine, and the Récital is veering slightly to a more ethnic flavor (Bournaki's violin inducing this, he sounds a bit like Ponty, Lockwood or an updated Grapelli), but we are in a very pleasant jazz-rock with some excellent musicianship, but nothing groundbreaking either. These guys sway from a high-energy jazz-rock to a cool fusion and sometimes some downright rock moments.

The second side opens on a adaptation of Albert Camus' L'Etranger, then flies in to the slow-starting two-part Esterel (a mountain range bordering on the French Riviera and its famed jazz scene) and the lengthy closer (Sound Magic in English) is a very apt and energetic track to end the record with. There are placed for a few duos with the violin exploring a jig and other instruments rocking the joint for all its worth.

The second (and unfortunately last) album from Aquarelle is much worth your investigation, as it is simply excellent, but whether one should think that the album is essential is altogether a different matter.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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