Every Tuesday night, for the last twenty seven Tuesdays (except for one), my trio of Philippe Charbonneau (bass), Matt Aston (drums) and myself have performed at the Avant Garde Bar. This residency has allowed us to explore each other’s musical boundaries and has created one of my favourite groups that I have ever worked with.
I’m blogging about the trio, and specifically Phil and Matt, because they make my job easy. Yes, all of the compositions are mine, and yes, the group has my name on the banner, but it is far from my group. We work as a cohesive unit – a collective. This makes the music, to me, much more fulfilling.
Phil was the first bassist I worked with when I moved to Ottawa in June of 2008. We played my original compositions (at the Avant Garde, no less) in a quartet setting (Kelsey McNulty was the pianist, and Patrick Sénécal was the drummer). Phil hooked me up with a bunch of great players – Zakari Frantz, Olivier Fairfield, Linsey Wellman, Mike Essoudry, Thomas Posner, Kelsey McNulty and so many others. Phil always has great arrangement ideas, and creates a huge amount of spontaneaty in the group. He keeps me on my toes.
Matt turned down my first gig…but he has helped me move a few times, so I guess he’s alright. I have played more with Matt than any other musician in the last two years. Matt has been part of almost every small group that I have put together. He will be with my Large Views Ensemble and a few other projects that I have coming up. Matt provides a great support for both Phil and I to explore. He seems to push us at just the right time or he lets us go where we feel. My favourite part about Matt’s playing is his dynamic range. He knows when the group needs to shift gears. He gets inside of my tunes and there’s a huge trust factor when it comes to our interaction.
With both of these incredible musicians, the music is a lot of fun, challenging and explorative.
At the beginning of October, we’re heading into the studio (for the first time with this group), to record the trio’s debut album. If you’re ever in the Ottawa area on a Tuesday night, check out the trio for a preview of what you’ll hear on the upcoming release.