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CD booklet
Bach'n’Jazz

The WholeNote
March 29, 2017

Montreal-based recorder quartet Flûte Alors! mixes Baroque with a splash of jazz in this satisfying release. The four quartet members—Vincent Lauzer, Marie-Laurence Primeau, Alexa Raine-Wright and Caroline Tremblay—are each accomplished musicians. Together, these self-described new-generation recorder players perform with glorious tone, technique and tight ensemble etiquette.

It is not surprising that J.S. Bach’s organ music translates well when arranged for recorder. Both instruments create sound by air/wind movement, and Bach’s strong contrapuntal lines flow on the recorder. Of the six arrangements, most satisfying is group member/arranger Raine-Wright’s take on Concerto in D Minor BWV 596. Her focus on Bach’s flowing lines and contrasting articulations add colour and clearly emulate the organ sound. Of note is the attention-grabbing high-pitch opening note of her arrangement of the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor BMV 565.

Why jazz? Because Flûte Alors! had a café gig and decided to mix Bach with jazz. Their jazz tracks may not be as astounding as their Bach, but this musical experiment is an evolving work in progress. Fly Me to the Moon opens with contrapuntal Baroque flavours leading to a jazzy pleasant swing-feel rendition of this popular standard. Dick Kooman’s The Jogger is a clever mix of classical and jazz with pavement-pounding detached rhythmic patterns driving the piece home.

Congratulations to Flûte Alors! for taking programming risks. Their Bach is more memorable, yet their detours to jazz land are pleasant listening, and crucial to the group’s artistic development.

© Tiina Kiik - The WholeNote

Journal de Montréal
February 18, 2017

★★★★
Avec le piano et la guitare, la flûte à bec est l’un des instruments favoris d’apprentissage. Autour du flûtiste Vincent Lauzer et de son équipe qui répond au joli non de Flûte Alors, nous entrons avec bonheur dans le domaine du jazz et de la musique classique. Pour sortir un peu des sentiers battus, ces quatre interprètes ont conjugué l’univers de Bach avec celui du jazz, et le résultat est particulièrement amusant. Si les fugues et concertos forment le cœur du travail, c’est avec grand plaisir que Fly Me To The Moon et Les Feuilles mortes viennent s’intercaler.

Christophe Rodriguez - Le Journal de Montréal 

Medium large
February 17, 2017

Frédéric Lambert reviews the album Bachn'n'jazz with Flûte Alors!
Listen HERE

CBC Classical
February 10, 2017

The recorder quartet Flûte Alors! first tried mixing Bach and jazz during a concert at a café in Old Montreal. "We wanted the repertoire to reflect the casual atmosphere of a night out," recalled the quartet members when we reached out to them via email. "Though many people have done programs of Bach and jazz, to our knowledge it had not yet been done on recorders."
That concept is now an album called Bach 'n' Jazz, due out Feb. 17 on ATMA Classique. The four members of Flûte Alors! — Vincent Lauzer, Marie-Laurence Primeau, Alexa Raine-Wright and Caroline Tremblay — are currently touring the album, most recently in Regina, Sask., and coming up next in their hometown of Montreal.

The tracks alternate between jazz standards and organ works by Bach, all arranged for recorders. "Bach's organ music is very well-suited to recorder quartet," they explained. "The sound of an organ pipe is produced in exactly the same way as on the recorder, so a recorder quartet sounds very similar to a small organ."

They also pointed out that while Bach's four-voice harmonic writing generally adapts well to the quartet format, they sometimes have to find work-arounds.

"In the Toccata and Fugue in D minor, for example, there are several passages in the original that are one-voice solos. This doesn't make the most interesting transition to recorder quartet, so we create harmonies or countermelodies around it, or pass the solo from one recorder to the next. This creates a much more interesting and engaging interpretation for multiple voices."

The jazz tunes present different challenges and possibilities. "When performing jazz, we use an array of modern embouchure and articulation techniques to create special percussive effects," they said.

The quartet members chose their favourite jazz standards for this album, and asked Nicolas G.-Godbout to arrange them. "Though Nicolas is a trumpet player, he arranges very well for recorders, adapting his compositional style to sound completely natural for recorder quartet," reflected the members of Flûte Alors!. "Even though 'The Jogger,' by Dick Koopmans, is not a jazz standard, it is a classic in contemporary recorder music, and contains jazzy and bluesy elements. The piece also ends with a fugue, echoing the many Bach fugues featured on this album."

Robert Rowat - CBC Classical 

ICI Musique
February 2, 2017

Créé en 1999, le quatuor Flûte Alors! s’est donné comme mission de faire connaître le répertoire de la flûte à bec. Loin de moi l’idée de colporter tous les clichés inhérents au genre avec, en plus, quelques blagues sur les cours de flûte de ma lointaine école primaire, mais j’avais quand même quelques appréhensions avant de faire l’écoute de son troisième album, Bach ‘n’ Jazz. Je me demandais à quel point il était possible de construire un album cohérant en mélangeant des interprétations jazz et classiques, sur un instrument dont le timbre particulier est capable de provoquer le meilleur, comme le pire, chez l’auditeur.

Que nenni! Premièrement, l’interprétation des arrangements pour flûte des œuvres pour orgue de Bach est à point et l’exécution est précise et soyeuse. Je pense, particulièrement, à la fameuse Toccata et fugue pour orgue BWV 565 dont l’approche aérienne ne nuit en rien à la gravité de la proposition originale.

Pour ce qui est des sélections jazz, j’ai particulièrement apprécié l’arrangement de Fly Me to the Moon, dont l’introduction nous fait languir quelques mesures avant de nous lancer sur le thème principal de la pièce. Belle façon d’ajouter une tension à une pièce que l’on peut considérer comme assez facile (autant que cela puisse être possible) d’approche.

Dans l’ensemble, Alexa Raine-Wright, Caroline Tremblay, Marie-Laurence Primeau et Vincent Lauzer nous offrent un album solide, précis et inventif qu’il fait bon écouter d’une traite.

François Lemay - ICI Musique