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Aquarelle Aquarelle [Aka: Sous un arbre] album cover
2.96 | 33 ratings | 2 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Aquarelle
2. Aquarelle, Pt. 2
3. Aquarelle, Pt. 3
4. Bridge
5. Esperanto
6. Francoise
7. Magic of Sounds
8. Under a Tree
9. Volupté

Line-up / Musicians

- Anne-Marie Courtemanche / vocals
- Pierre Lescaut / keyboards
- Stéphane Morency / guitar
- Pierre Bournaki / violin
- Jean-Philippe Gélinas / saxophone, flute
- Michel De Lisle / bass
- André Leclerc / drums

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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AQUARELLE Aquarelle [Aka: Sous un arbre] ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

AQUARELLE Aquarelle [Aka: Sous un arbre] reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars In the second part of the 70's, Quebec was going wild in terms of progressive rock undergoing a sort of cultural revolution/emancipation (Quebec was busy considering flying on its own) and a flurry of bands were seeing the light of day, a good deal of those not really caring about being commercial. Aquarelle is Pierre Lescaut's project; he was the main composer, but everyone in the group had interesting and challenging role in the group, not least Bournaki's violin work.

If you are like me, and have heard a few hundred Jazz-rock/fusion album, chances are that Aquarelle will not sound incredibly inventive or particularly original. What we have here is a very honest and professional album, which fits the mould of what was being released at the time. Sounding close to Ponty's albums of that same era, or many other groups, Aquarelle did not really manage to make a real dent in the market mostly because of the competitive market and the sheer amount of similar music being released, some group were bound to remain in obscurity. Sadly so, because Aquarelle were a very endearing unit that produced a very pleasant JR/F on their two albums, but it was not flawless. One of the more puzzling characteristics about their music is Courtemanche's wordless high-strung vocals (which are often under-mixed) that add some unexpected flavour to the music, but they are rather unusual and can be irritating. Highlights of this album include the (unofficial) title track with the heavy piano work, and the three part eponymous track Aquarelle, where the group does not miss to introduce their wide scoped musical abilities.

While they would go on to record one other (better) album with another vocalist, (this next one in the frame of Montreux's Jazz Festival), Aquarelle's works can only be seen as complementary to the scene of that year. If you are not familiar with their music, I can direct you towards their second album (this one being less essential), but it is not like you would be missing that much if you were not to discover them >> their records have not been re-issued on CD, yet, but it should not be difficult finding the vinyls at reasonable prices. Good but not essential.

Review by debrewguy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Although I can usually be counted to promote RPQ bands (Rock Progressif Quebecois), Aquarelle are one that just don't do anything to really stand out from the crowd. Even within such a small provincial scene.

They play a very competent jazz rock / fusion, that at times will, at best , remind you of generic TV or movie soundtracks.

The best example that I could give would be this - Francoise sounds like an instrumental backing track for a mid 70s Robert Charlebois out-take. Mellow, melodious, some latin tinged percussion at the end, but nothing that will stick in your mind after the needle (I picked up a used LP copy at Spin-It) rises from the vinyl.

Indeed, while Charlebois was THE Quebec pop rocker par excellence, he knew how to make his music go beyond the stereotype of the many genres that he tried his hand at . And that's Aquarelle main failing. It's not the lack of inventiveness, but rather the lack of any ability to make the music come alive. TO make it their own.

The album title translates to Under a Tree. And while I can imagine it relaxing listening to this playing whilst lying in the shade, I can't call it anything more than barely mediocre.

O.K. , if you just can't get enough of late 70s Jazz Rock /Fusion. But there's more than enough good stuff out there that you should go through first.

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