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VILLE EMARD BLUES BAND

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Canada


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Ville Emard Blues Band biography
Anything but a blues band, this combo (named after Montreal's artistic neighbourhood) represents one of the first decisive steps towards Quebec's fabulous first prog era, which would last until the turn of the decade? And it all started with this group, which was more of a loose aggregation of anything that Montreal counted as rock musicians at the time, and is really a pot pourri of musicians to be found later in TOUBABOU, CONTRACTION, HARMONIUM, AQUARELLE and more.

While the resulting music may seem nowadays a bit messy by today's standards, the "supergroup" was more of a happy-go-lucky affair (often touring on a full truck trailer as a stage) or as could be described in French: un joyeux foutoir. Yet as loose as they might seem (or this text might make them appear to be), on stage VEBB was a very tight unit even if they were up to 20 on stage. They started out in 73 with a self-released "bootleg" album called: Minute, VEBB S'En Vient. The following year, after landing a recording contract, they had released a double live album called "Live à Montreal", which had a good impact in the province. The following year, the group released their only studio album, simply called: Ville Emard, for which they got a Juno nomination (that year won by RUSH). Their sound was rather eclectic oscillating between prog, jazz-rock and funk and often sounding a bit like Santana. Clearly one of the central player of the band is percussionist (congas mostly) Michel Seguin who would work with most groups of the province, but starting with TOUBABOU, which can be seen as the most direct descendant of VEBB. But by the end of the year, the group had disintegrated.

In 79, will see the double Lp compilation released and in 2004, a CD reissue of their material was fittingly one of ProgQuebec's first releases.


:::: Bio written by Hugues Chantraine, Belgium ::::





Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
One of the first Quebec prog groups.



Discography:
Discography
Minute! Ville Emard Blues Band S'en Vient Is Coming (1973 auto-bootleg)
Live À Montréal (1974)
Ville Emard (1975)
Ville Emard Blues Band (1979, comp)
Complete VEBB Au Complet 73-75 (2004)

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VILLE EMARD BLUES BAND discography


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VILLE EMARD BLUES BAND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.96 | 5 ratings
Live à Montreal
1974
3.13 | 5 ratings
Ville Emard
1975

VILLE EMARD BLUES BAND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Minute Ville Emard Blues Band S'en Vient
1973
3.00 | 3 ratings
Live au Festival des Musiques Progressives de Montréal 2007
2007

VILLE EMARD BLUES BAND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

VILLE EMARD BLUES BAND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Ville Emard Blues Band
1979
4.00 | 7 ratings
Complete VEBB Au complet 73-75
2004

VILLE EMARD BLUES BAND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

VILLE EMARD BLUES BAND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Live au Festival des Musiques Progressives de Montréal 2007 by VILLE EMARD BLUES BAND album cover Live, 2007
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Live au Festival des Musiques Progressives de Montréal 2007
Ville Emard Blues Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

As the reissue label ProgQuebec started their quest with VEBB's two albums, they also had the extreme pleasure to open their first FMPM in 2007 and had VEBB play for them. It seems that VEBB is now forever linked with PQ, but let's face it, there were only four of the dozen or so members that once played for the band that actually rose to the challenge, and no more than three at the same time. If Vallières and Dion played the whole concert, Gagnon and Séguin only played three tracks each and didn't overlap, but the rest of the group was made from younger musicians who more than picked up the slack and added the necessary energy into the mix, Gagnon bringing two members from his family and Séguin bringing his son.

Starting with the classic Octobre Au Mois De Mai, VEBB was playing it safe with the Quebecois public (obviously a hit with them), but it wasn't a sure fire strategy, because many of the crowd (coming from different continents) had never heard of the band or even understood French. One of the numbers that really broke the ice is the fantastic and brilliantly played Ste Mélanie Blues with some outstanding guitar works. Walter's Van with its strong Gong-Crimsison influence was another winner with the public, this leading the group into the free improv of Poireaux Névrosés (nervous-wrecked leeks) and later the great but XXXX Konky Donky, all three tracks with original bassist Bill Gagnon in the fold. As Gagnon left the stage, he was replaced with the legendary Séguin on percussion and the group launched itself in another excellent trilogy, although as you'd guess, a much more percussive one with Ambush, Strangle (with strong Santana accents) and the then-Quebecois cultural anthem Yama Nekh.

While most likely working on short notice, the VEBB line-up gels rather well, and it's a bit ironic that drummer Perrote now plays the concert, but had not joined the 70's adventure along with some more Contraction members. While I'm sure many of the attendance probably would choose another group as their fave from the FMPM07 line-up, I'm sure Stephen and Sean probably would say that VEBB was the most emotive and probably tore a few tears from their eyes. While a very good live album, with a new generation of musos paying dues to the VEBB heritage (that was THE Quebecois supergroup of back then), it is difficult to say that Live FMPM is more worthy than the first PQ release; but it's different, yet not as essential, but surely not from far!!

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 Complete VEBB Au complet 73-75 by VILLE EMARD BLUES BAND album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2004
4.00 | 7 ratings

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Complete VEBB Au complet 73-75
Ville Emard Blues Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by le orme

4 stars Although many would associate jazz-rock/fusion to L'orchestre sympathique in Quebec, it's about time we reconsider our position on the matter. Known for their incredibly astonishing stage performances (sometimes 20+ people on stage) this legendary jazz band has finally been released on CD (double CD!!!). The first part is a live performance in montreal where they play new material and stuff from their early singles. What's most amazing though is the diversity of the music: some parts are straight rock n' roll, others symphonic, and the rest extremely virtuostic--what else can you expect of 20 musicians playing in sync. The diversity in the music is really what drew me to this band in the first place, but when you witness the energy and commitment members put into the music, you're awe struck. The second CD is slightly less appealing since its a studio recording and the "performances" are more subdued. Of course the quality of the sound is excellent, much like all of progquebec's releases. Highly recommended!!!

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 Complete VEBB Au complet 73-75 by VILLE EMARD BLUES BAND album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2004
4.00 | 7 ratings

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Complete VEBB Au complet 73-75
Ville Emard Blues Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars ProgQuebec's very first release couldn't have been a more emblematic album, really. Whet better way to start giving a second life to Quebec's 70's prog scene other than starting with this precise group and its highly symbolic Live à Montreal album. That very album that can almost be seen as the source and inspiration of the progressive movement that will rock La Belle Province until the turn of the decade.

For the reviews of both albums, please see the album's reviews in their respective pages, but let it be known that the debut live album is augmented by one bonus track (placed in the context of the concert, but it was previously available as the b-side of a single) and that the album's over all length did not allow for a single disc, so it is rather strangely sprawled on this re-issue's two discs. So three tracks of their first album is present on the first disc, before having the studio album, and in terms of a finale, both sides of their second non-album single with the delicious and groundbreaking Yama Nekh and the twelve string guitar piece S'Assoir Dans Les Champs.

Yes this re-issue was really the best way to start ProgQuebec's extremely noble re-issue campaign, making sure the artistes get the full benefits of their works. Maybe, just maybe, without this re-issue of VEBB's works the second miracle of Quebec's prog might not have happened, just as the original vinyl's existence was as essentiakl to the first miracle back in the 70's.

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 Ville Emard by VILLE EMARD BLUES BAND album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.13 | 5 ratings

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Ville Emard
Ville Emard Blues Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

This second album is their only studio recordings, but shows a fairly different facet (smoother and more refined) of the group. Not that the group got any smaller than its live version, on the contrary, there are 25 musos happening on wax slice. Nor has the music gotten less eclectic either: it is still rather wide-spectrummed, ranging from Piano tracks to full-brassed rock pieces, while passing though wild spacey jazzy fusions. Clearly this album is more bassist Bill Gagnon's with his excellent funky playing (he's also the producer), even if his closing track, the aptly titled Guess Who's Coming To Jam is relatively hard to integrate.

The album is a bit schizophrenic sharing some pure acoustic songs on half the tracks and some hard jazz-rock on the other half. Needless to say that for the proghead's interest those last ones are the most interesting, but compared to their first live album, their fusion is harder-driven, more extreme and if well recorded, not always easy on the brains. Some of the album's highlights are the superb and dramatic (brass section) Walter's Van and the highly intricate Machine Infernale (where one of the riffs resembles strongly The Who's Who Are You track some three years before the time), both Gagnon pieces.

So this live album shows a fairly different side of the group , but at the same time, it confirms the group's direction of a jazz-rock inferno that was rivalling and being as innovative as Mahavishnu or early Weather Report

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 Live à Montreal by VILLE EMARD BLUES BAND album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.96 | 5 ratings

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Live à Montreal
Ville Emard Blues Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by 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 Névrosés (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.

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Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition.

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