All That Jazz in Quebec

All That Jazz in Quebec

Article and photos by Rosalind Dunphy

Music lovers gathered in Quebec City recently to listen to the smooth sound and sometimes upbeat rhythm of jazz held by the Festival de Jazz de Québec.  The festival took place at various venues during the last two weeks of October.  Among the many performers, The Thomas Carbou Trio played songs from their latest album, Hektàtê, at Le Petit Impérial on Saturday, October 26th, 2012. 

The group consists of sax player, Eric Hove, from British Colombia, drummer, Philippe Melanson, from New Brunswick filling in for Jim Doxas, their regular drummer and of course, guitarist and composer Thomas Carbou, originally from France.  Together for five years now, The Thomas Carbou Trio is a prime example of a group who have modernized their sound by including technology. 

The times are changing and so jazz music must change with the times.  Integrating cultural sound effects into their music makes it easy to imagine that you’re someplace exotic while listening, rather than sitting in a lounge.   Many of their songs were introduced with vocal sound effects, among which were the sounds of children in Africa.  If you closed your eyes, you could easily imagine that you were walking down a dirt road in an African village.  The mellow sound of the jazz accompanied by the sound effects was enticing and I found it easy to get lost in their music. 

On the sax, Hove played at times like a whisper and at other times very passionately.  He also proved flexible in his musical abilities by playing the flute during one of their songs.  On the drums, Melanson used various percussion effects, which included a tin can attached to the top of his high-hat cymbal.  This added to their music by giving it a very natural rhythmic sound.  Carbou, himself, while playing the guitar seemed very emotionally involved in his music.  The trio is primarily instrumental, however the few songs where Carbou did sing, left me thinking that he should sing more often. 

The Composer is inspired by listening to a variety of different sounds from African, to folk to electronic music.  This influence can certainly be heard when listening to his compositions.  Carbou said that the trio uses sound effects in their music to give it a cultural feel so that people of all ages from around the world can relate to it.  He said, “I want my music to be understood by everyone.  I try to be inclusive.” 

Carbou composed the music for “Incendies”, a bonus film for the Québec award-winning documentary “Se souvenir des cendres, Regards sur Incendies”, a movie well-worth watching. 

My favorite song performed that night is called, “The King Died”, a solo played by Carbou.  He wrote it as is a tribute to Martin Luther King.  While he plays, he incorporates the speech made by J.F. Kennedy after the death of Martin Luther King along with “I have a Dream” the inspiring speech given by the King himself. 

According to Carbou, “Jazz is supposed to be music with a message.” 

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About Rosalind Dunphy:

A student of journalism and communications, Rosalind Dunphy studied at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She is now studying French as a foreign language at Laval University. Rosalind firmly believes that it’s important as a canadian citizen to be able to communicate well in both French and English. She is most interested in social issues and giving back to the community. Just beginning her writing career, Rosalind sees that there are many opportunities to write about the issues that are important to all Canadians.

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