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Le Passant CD cover

Michel Lambert's CD for improvisors and orchestra is one of the 100 recordings that he appears on, and one of his many as a leader. While his discography is being updated, enjoy this page with info and reviews.

Featuring Ellery Eskelin, Dominic Duval and Malcolm Goldstein and an orchestra that includes musicians from the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the SMCQ and the NEM.

"Unique in its own way, Le Passant is a confrontation between the worlds of through-composed music and free improvisation. In it, players of various backgrounds and experiences co-habit with each other in a series of complex relationships of varying scope. The very life of this piece is prefaced on balancing out the compositional and improvisational elements at play here."

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His approach creates a music not unlike the free-est of free jazz, whereupon a group of strong individuals play with-and-against each other (the orchestra being an equal member), wtih only the most tangential of relationships holding things together.

As anyone who's seen a performance of a Cecil Taylor-led ensemble knows, such a strategy can result in transcendent music. Duval knows about such things, obviously, and he shines throughout, as does Eskelin. Goldstein is a monster. He does riveting work. The orchestra is dynamic and well-prepared, interpreting Lambert's ingenious composition with grit and excitement. The second half of the album consists of free improvisations. These tracks are satisfying, yet there's something about the orchestra functioning as a single, living, breating entity, set alongside the improvisors, that makes the first half special.

Chris Kelsey, JazzTimes

As musicians, they're all formidable, and as people they're sympathetic and generous. Too often, the so-called classical and improvising worlds are pushed together, resulting in an unhappy pastiche. In this instance, it's exciting to hear that it need not be the case. In fact, this recording could prove to be something of a landmark… **** read full review

Mike Chamberlain, Hour

Although the sessions are almost flawlessly blended, unlike Third Stream Music the idea here isn’t to amalgamate the improvisations with the written score played by the orchestra. Instead the studio wizardry allows the three sessions to coexist in order to produce both innovative energy and original texture ... Assembling the strands of Lambert’s musical identities, Le Passant confirms the Canadian drummer’s first-class compositional, improvisational and studio production capability… read full review

Ken Waxman, One Final Note

This recording comes as a bit of a revelation. Lambert's "Le Passant" is miles beyond the accepted vision of jazz meets orchestra, pushing the boundaries with this five movement work... A well-focused composition, Le Passant should establish Lambert's presence at a whole new level in the music world.

Steve Vickery, Coda

…une distribution des masses sonores digne de Penderecki et des développements orchestraux impromptus ... Dans cet élixir hautement vitriolé, les deux pièces improvisées avec l'orchestre constituent le poison le plus délectable. Ames sensibles s'abstenir.

Anne Ramade, Jazzman, no. 121, Février 2006

Une relecture de cette oeuvre par son auteur, à la fin des années 90, a permis dénrichir le travail original d'une section d'improvisateurs composée du violoniste Malcolm Goldstein, du contrebassiste Dominic Duval et du saxophoniste ténor Ellery Eskelin: trois musiciens qui possèdent l' expérience et le sens de la srtucture pour tirer du projet initial une saveur et une densité nouvelles. Le Passant donne à l' imaginaire des terrains à conquérir. Mystérieux, il "laisse derrière lui des traces et des empreintes qui inspirent le parcours de lálerte et de láverti". Chaudemenr recommandé.

Sébastien Moig, Jazzosphère, April 2006

A fascinating project ... spacious, sometimes lonely, impressively adaptable sounds.

Brian Morton, Wire, March 2006

Jazz and classical music have been combined in lots of ways but rarely but rarely with as much respect for their separate identities as on Michel Lambert's 'Le Passant".

p. 72, issue 41, Spring 2006 Nathan Turk, Signal to Noise

Though there are passages where the classically-trained ensemble musicians let fly, there's usually little doubt as to what's composed and what's improvised – Goldstein of course sounds like no other violinist on the planet, and the extraordinary noises he conjures forth from the instrument contrast markedly with the ensemble writing ... Le Passant raises important questions about compositional structure and the identity of musical material used to articulate it, and leaves it to listener to find the answers. A challenging and rewarding listen… read full review

Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic

Jazz/classical fusion, a high-spirited attack that works well. Quite avant-garde sounding with lots of improvising, with some joyous cutting loose of the 10 piece orchestra. Highlighted players include some jazz-related folks: Ellery Eskelin (sax), Dominic Duval (bass), Malcolm Goldstein (violin). Lambert himself turns in some aggressive drum solos. Awesome stuff packed with energy; every track is great, although 1 and 11 are a bit calmer.

Craig Matsumoto, KZSU, 90.1 FM

The improvisations are stimulating. A constant friction sets off sparks, skittering drum lines give vent to the rolling atmosphere, and quick accents flex the rhythm, a trait that bassist Dominic Duval also voices as he bows in rapid accelerations. Tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin expands the dimensions in constant billow, his ideas shifting and shading the fabric. Interaction and reaction mark the orchestrated work… read full review

Jerry D'Souza, All About Jazz

Lambert’s confrontation between the two musical universes creates an ongoing feeling of displacement that rarely resolves, with contrast created out of continual shifts between dense and spacious ... With inherent conflict defining the majority of Le Passant, it’s a very demanding listen. Still, while Lambert’s divergent views of free improvisation and contemporary composition do indeed make strange bedfellows, they can work together to create a challenging but rewarding and genre-busting work… read full review

John Kelman, All About Jazz

Michel Lambert’s recent outings on Rant and Leo, under his own name or others, have all been extraordinary and quite innovative. He’s definitely a man to watch.

Justin Glick, WNUR

Disons-le tout net: le résultat est à la hauteur de nos espérances. Soufflent ici une évidence et une fluidité remarquables. Les parties improvisées et écrites se superposent, se fondent, se tissent avec bonheur et sans la moindre brisure. Et si on trouve ici une évidente parenté avec les expérimentations harmolodiques dÓrnette pour grand orchestre, on ne peut que se réjouir de voir cohabiter aussi intelligemment écriture et improvisation (splendides ricochets de Malcolm Goldstein). Une réussite totale.

Luc Bouquet, Improjazz, Avril 2006

Ce batteur est aussi l'auteur, en 2001, de "Musiques Dessinées". Ainsi, le dessin et les couleurs nourrissent son travail de musicien et on peut parler ici d'ombre et de lumière, ou de fluidité des lignes pour décrire la singularité de don invention à la batterie.

Charles Collard, La Scena Musicale, vol. 11.5

Eskelin's throaty tenor wails mournfully, spinning phrases of circuitous abandon. Duval's sinewy bass playing is a thing of beauty; in this unfettered context his pizzicato work is astonishing in its forthright melodicism. The inverse is true of Goldstein's violin playing, which is vociferous in its texturally dissonant intensity, all rasp and scrawl...Dense and challenging, Le Passant offers complex and rewarding music for those with an ear towards the future of the third stream… read full review

Troy Collins, All About Jazz

Drummer Michel Lambert's five-part work "The Wanderer" (in French it is "Le Passant") opens up this CD. It matches together improvisers with nonimprovising but virtuosic classical musicians, pitting them against each other rather than seeking a blend. The seven remaining selections on this CD are free improvisations (most of them fairly brief) inspired by the orchestral suite. Individually, there are colorful moments from tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, the remarkable violinist Malcolm Goldstein, and bassist Dominic Duval... The overall results should interest those with ears open to sound explorations… read full review

Scott Yanow, All-Music Guide

Interesting project: A small orchestra plus jazz folks, including Lambert (drums), Ellery Eskelin (sax), Dominic Duval (bass), and Malcolm Goldstein (violin, with some really cool solos)...the orchestra members play jumpy, dissonant lines or dive into a rustling group improv a la the London Improvisers Orchestra.  Overall, a high-spirited attack that melds modern classical with modern avant-garde jazz. It's ambitious, energetic, exciting.

KZSU, 90.1 FM


Le Passant CD back cover

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