“The arrangements are transparent; the mood is intimate and the songs, uplifting.”
So says All About Jazz of Toronto’s Eric St-Laurent Trio.
“Playing the compositions of guitarist Eric St-Laurent, with the unique and highly virtuosic rhythm section of Jordan O’Connor (double bass) and Michel DeQuevedo (percussion), the trio creates joy, excitement — and a few other emotions that simply haven’t been named yet. At the heart of it are Afro-Cuban rhythms combined with jazz openness and blues sensibilities that give way to lyrical melodies and infectious grooves and riffs.”
The Georgia Straight Jazz Society presents the Eric St-Laurent Trio in concert on March 18 at the Courtenay Elks hall.
A Montreal native, Eric was awarded the SOCAN award for Best Original Composition at the Montreal Jazz Festival and The Best Band Award at the Vienne (France) Jazz Festival.
After studying improvisation in New York he moved to Berlin where he toured with big and small names of the German and Scandinavian music scenes. He has been featured on over 50 recordings, produced multiple albums, composed scores for short films and theatre, and toured extensively in Europe and Canada.
“Eric St. Laurent knows how to handle a guitar. With sounds ranging from Ali Farka Toure through that of the African harp known as the balaphon to the electric frenzy of Hendrix … [His music] will delight music fans and keep guitar aficionados guessing as to how St. Laurent manages to create such an incredibly rich tapestry,” writes John Herbert Cunningham or the Winnipeg Uniter.
Bassist/composer O’Connor grew up in Ottawa, and for the past 13 years has been living in Toronto, performing with such musicians as Don Ross and Louis Simão. Jordan has been composing for a variety of ensembles as well as for film, most recently the feature The ‘Yeah Whatever’ Girl by writer/director Carolyn Hurren.
DeQuevedo has been playing drums and percussion since he was a small child. Born in Mexico and now a resident of Toronto, Michel has toured in Italy, Chile, Mexico, Cuba, the United States and Canada with people like Grammy Award winner Julieta Venega, Random Order, and Zoe Bentley.
With the Eric St-Laurent Trio he eschews the standard drum kit in favour of a remarkable array of ethnic percussion.
Of the band’s recent CD Ruby, Jerry D’Souza of All About Jazz says, “St-Laurent goes well beyond Afro-Cuban music, to show how much at ease he is in various idioms. His approach can be spare or full-bodied, or it can take off from the written note or find its soul in free motifs.”
You can learn more about the band and listen to cuts from their CDs at www.ericst-laurent.com.
Tickets, at $12 for Jazz Society members and $16 for non-members, are available at Bop City, Comox Videos N More and the Thursday Jazz Club at the Elks. For more information about the concert or jazz society activities, go to www.georgiastraightjazz.com.
— Georgia Straight Jazz Society