Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Pollen - Jacques Tom Rivest CD (album) cover



Symphonic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars For some reason, Pollen never managed to release a second album, but the story goes that some songs were already written for it. These tracks eventually found a release through Rivest's first solo album (there is second in the early 80's) and it is very worthy of Pollen fans. Clearly the tracks on this album are reminiscent of the group, even if they have been arranged by Rivest for his own use. But I would not call this album a normal Chanson Française album with its cast iof guest and session musicians. The musos playing for Rivest act much more as group than just merely accompanying him in a showcase for the singer.

Don't get me wrong, as the album's ugly sleeve indicates, Rivest is the star of the album, but tat cover is also a bit misleading: the Dimanche single artwork sleeve (printed in the ProgQuebec reissue) was much nicer and reflected better the general trippy feeling of the record's A-side. The first side is definitely the better one with some thoughtful songwriting (the poignant Langue De Son Pays) and an invitation to triply rendezvous (the almost 8-min Voyage Au Tibet with its Buddhist music in intro and outro).

The second side is a bit less interesting but is also wider in spectrum with some cool lead guitar on the outro of Messager Du Temps. The ProgQuebec re-issue comes with the B-side of the afore-mentioned track as a bonus and if not warned, you'd never guess it was a non-album track before as it blends with the album beautifully.

Although not quite as good as pollen's album, this solo album is definitely worth a spin for all those Pollen fans even if it is not essential and it will not cure your ache for a second album from the quartet.

Report this review (#99063)
Posted Thursday, November 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Rock Progressivo Italiano!
4 stars What a wonderful surprise!

I love Pollen's album, so why did I wait so long before trying this one? I don't have a good answer--I'll have to chalk it up to the cover!

Tom Rivest, the vocalist/guitarist/main songwriter for Pollen, released this album a few years after the Pollen album was released. I think many of the elements of Pollen which I love--wonderful melody, thick textures, interesting harmonies--are present on this album, in a stripped down form. This album to my ears brings much of what I love about Pollen, but is more subtle and accessible. The flashy instrumentation, more complex arrangements, and complex time signatures are also downplayed. In fact in many respects this album reminds me of some of the other solo type projects that I love (Pierpaolo Bibbo, Enzo Capuano, and Anthony Phillips come immediately to mind).

Some of the highlights are La Langue De Son Pays, Voyage Au Tibet, and Messager Du Temps. If you love Pollen (or any of the artists I mentioned above), don't hesitate to give this album a try. I think you'll agree that it brings many many rewards.

Report this review (#209837)
Posted Thursday, April 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wow!! Where'd this album come from?

I dug out my Pollen cd the other day that I have had for years. For some reason, I never gave it the chance it deserved. It sounded great. Especially the accoustical ballads by Jacques Tom Rivest.

Then I came here and saw that he had a solo album. Much to my delight, I went to my favorite online purchasing web site and noticed they had an mp3 version of this 1979 album available for under $10.

So I bought it. 1 listen and I knew this was a good album. There's a few throw away tracks but for the most part, the album is really good. Not one amazing track but most all good/very good.

The album has some serious melancholic overtones along with some wonderful melodies to boot. I don't speak French but I don't believe this to be a cheerful album. Nice accoustical passages and trimmed down keyboards. Good/strong melodies.

I agree with the other reviewers of this with the comparisons to Capuano, etc...

I'd like to add another comparison to the album Antico Teatro Da Camera (1975) by Gianni D'Errico. You can find a review of that on progarchives. That one (like this one) is a total lost gem of accoustical melancholic ballads with prog elements. That one is essential just like this (sadly Gianni was killed before the release of that album which makes it even more intense to listen to).

Anyhow this album was a pleasant surprise and a big thumbs up. Its amazing (with all this great music that is undiscovered) that Justin Bieber/Lady Gaga/Miley Cyrus will get millions of sales from their albums but an album like this will go unnoticed/unheard. It's a shame.

Buy this without hesitation if you like Pollen and/or melancholic accoustical based ballads with prog elements. Don't take my word, you can go and find sound samples on this at your favorite merchant. That's what I did :-) I listend to a few of the 30 second sound samples and said "Ok, I'm buying it!!". Nice purchase.

Report this review (#1166902)
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Review Nº 177

"Jacques Tom Rivest" is the eponymous debut and only album of the Canadian progressive musician of the 70's and was released in 1979. The line up on the album is Jacques Tom Rivest (vocals, piano and guitars), Richard Lemoyne (guitars and piano), Claude Lemay (keyboards), Daniel Mathieu (bass) and Serge Courchesne (drums and percussion).

Jacques Tom Rivest had the distinction of being one of the founding members of one of the Quebec's most critically acclaimed progressive rock bands from the 70's, Pollen, unfortunately almost a forgotten group. Pollen was formed in 1972 by Jacques Tom Rivest and Richard Lemoyne and in the following year they were joined by Serge Courchesne, who suggested they could recruit two keyboardists, Claude "Mego" Lemay and Serge Locat to complete the group. However, it was too late for Locat as he had committed to join Harmonium, another Québecois group, one of the best French Canadian groups indeed. So, the group pursued its destiny with only four musicians, all of them with big skills.

Despite their almost anonymity, Pollen was one of Québec's biggest progressive acts in the mid 70's, with Harmonium and Maneige. Their music is more purely rooted in the symphonic genre than their countrymen, whose music is more folk-oriented, Harmonium and more fusion, Maneige. The influence of major progressive acts are evident, like Gentle Giant, Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but the main influences are from Genesis. We can also see influences from French progressive groups like Ange and of many Italian groups of the time, especially early Premiata Forneria Marconi.

While Pollen would only issue one album, their self titled debut album, the group carved out quite a loyal local following in a relatively short period of time. Pollen had the honour of touring the province with some of the best British progressive groups like Gentle Giant two years before releasing their debut and co-headlining with Caravan, once that album was out. But the group split-up towards the end of 1976. They were times of changing in the music industry. So, it would be passed three years, before Rivest would be heard from again when he released his self titled debut album.

In reality and for some reasons, Pollen never was able to release a second studio album. But, in 1979, the story continued with the release of this solo album of Rivest, especially due to some of the songs had already been written for what would be the second Pollen's album. This album reunited Rivest with his ex-Pollen band mates, even the original drummer, Courchesne, who quit the group on the eve of the Gentle Giant tour back in 1974. So, many tracks on this album are somehow reminiscent of the group, even if they have been re-arranged by Tom Rivest, for his own use.

While the music on this album has flashes of instrumental fireworks, don't expect it to sound exactly like "Pollen". The sound leans more towards folk but plenty of progressive influences remain on it. Despite its closer to the folkier side of Pollen, without forgetting about the more orchestral/symphonic side of the band, the focus here is on acoustic guitars, flute and keyboards instead of a more pronounced electric environment. Some of the material here is more mainstream. But the acoustic instrumentation, as well as the double keyboard lines and singing, reminiscent of Pollen, can be found on many of the tracks of the album. The songs are also generally more commercial as well. Rivest's soothing and tender voice guides the listener through this fine collection of material. I'd have to say that the highlight for me is the Eastern flavoured "Voyage Au Tibet" with its full and rich sound, clocking in at over 7 minutes. However there are plenty of other grand orchestral moments on this album. Tracks like "La Language De Son Pays", "Toujours Plus Haut" and "La Nuit" are also great tracks that sound very close to Pollen's original release. Over all, this is yet another solid re-issue from the progressive Québec people and one worthy of adding to your collection if you are wondering why the 70's was a magical time for this kind of music in Québec. In addition, the album is now augmented by a bonus track, the last track, "Prendre Son Temps", taken from a single released about the same time as the original album release.

Conclusion: Still the self titled debut album of Rivest be not properly the second album of Pollen, it has the main ingredients of an album of the group. Rivest was the leader of the group and this first solo album finds most of Pollen helping out, only with a different bassist and the original drummer of Pollen, incidentally. The tracks are less obviously progressive, and at times are more folky or more rock. However Lemay is still in fine form on keyboards and his playing highlights four or five different tracks. Rivest was a talented composer and despite a mellow sound and short length of the tracks the arrangements are full of beautiful melodies and serene atmospheres. Many of the elements of "Pollen", wonderful melody, thick textures and interesting harmonies, are present on it. However, if you are hoping for something exactly like "Pollen", this isn't it. But, in essence, this is the second Pollen's album. Essentially, it merely reflects the time it was released, 1979, as the band tries to remain current while still having some fine progressive moments on it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1918554)
Posted Monday, April 30, 2018 | Review Permalink

POLLEN Jacques Tom Rivest ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of POLLEN Jacques Tom Rivest

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives