It’s always a bitter sweet moment when Montreal artists leave the city to go further their education and career in other lands but you can’t help but be crazy proud when you look at the product they bring back. Bass (Electric and Double) player Matt Rousseau left us a couple of years back to study at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York where he ended up joining forces with well known guitarist and composer Tom Csatari. When I got to check out Rousseau with the Tom Csatari Band at the Upstairs Jazz Bar and Grill last summer, I was truly impressed by the new level of art he was serving us. Previously, I’d been following his career as part of The Franky Rousseau Large Band and The Bud Rice Band so I knew he could really set the tone with a solid groove but what he’s doing now is a whole other game. Now you guys all know that I come from a mainly Hip Hop and Soul background so bass is easily one of the most important instruments in my mind which is why sometimes I feel like when I go check out jazz and cinematic-groove type shows I feel like there’s a lack of assertiveness from the bass players. Thankfully Matt Rousseau doesn’t fall in that category, within the first beats of a piece his bass line is laid down strong and confidently giving room to other musicians to venture off in artistic melodies cause the tone has been set and wont falter. I don’t know if the Tom Csatari Band will be making their way back up to Montreal this summer but in the meantime they have a 5-piece EP available on Bandcamp that you should definitely check out. ‘Blues for Edna’ is my personal favorite.
Keep making us proud across the border Rousseau! [Yup he’s the guy the picture reppin’ Montreal with his Habs Shirt on *sigh*]
It’s my birthday in a few days and I’m reaching the age where people start to worry about how they’re getting older. Now I’ve always been concerned with my age because I’m a go-getter who used to think I’d have my whole life figured out by 18 but recently the concern isn’t so much how much I can get done within the next year but how can I manage to stay true to my youthful self as the years and responsibilities start piling in. Not a weird tacky I want to wear pum pum shorts to work type of youth but you know an age gracefully and manage to hold on to my passion for life type of youth. All of this life questioning brought me back to a conversation I had with Paul Cargnello back in March when he was preparing for his Quebec tour promoting his latest album Papa Paul. ‘It’s about learning to embrace the new stages and opportunities of your life […] focusing on the past is useless since those days have already left their imprint, which won’t wash away’ he said referring to the theme of Papa Paul. Those words resonated with me on a personal tip but even more on musical perspective because in the end isn’t that what makes a great artist, someone who is daring enough to explore new grounds and opportunities while remaining true to their essence. If you’re not sure if you agree with that statement I urge you to study Miles Davis’s musical career.
What’s great about Paul Cargnello is that he truly does practice what he preaches. If you take a look at his career you’ll see that he’s a ‘rock’ artist whose collaborated with a variety of pop, reggae and even hip hop artists, he’s a ‘political’ singer who’s written love songs and most notably he’s ‘English’ artist who often sings in French yet none of these stylistic decisions have ever made him steered his fundamental message and by refusing to limit himself to a genre box he’s managed to spark the interest of an impressive wide variety of people, or at least that’s what I understood from looking into the crowd at his last Montreal show and seeing an odd panoply of corporate suits, jordans, and fedoras.
I like that I can’t quite pinpoint what is that I like about Cargnello’s music. It’s managed to take me out of my comfort zone and has forced me to experience rather than critique, which is refreshing for a reviewer. It’s not often that we let ourselves be vulnerable enough to appreciate something new. If you find yourself feeling oh so daring I recommend you to come join me at his show at Sala Rossa, May 24th. I’m determined to figure out why his music has me so charmed this time.
Being a media personality I’m often stuck in the same conversation with artists where they try to get me all hyped up for the supposed ‘Big Something’ they got coming out ‘This Year’ and well.. that big something never comes around. That’s why I never trust a hype man. True go-getters don’t have time to toot their own horn (good thing they don’t cause i’d be out of a job) and let me tell y’all Chris RT, c’est un-vrai-de-vrai go-getter. Ever since he dropped Lost Hdd, I’ve been hassling him seeing if he could leak a little something for the Say Word fam and all I ever heard was ‘you’ll get something when it’s ready’. Well folks, it’s time. Chris RT just released the video teaser to his upcoming album Unbalanced today. RT got together with one of the best up & coming videographers of the city, Ms Rose Pacesix of course, and created a beautiful self-portrait video featuring four amazing tracks off the album. So far I’m really digging ‘Don’t Stop’ and can’t wait to find out what other gems from his repertoire will be making it on Unbalanced.
Folks. It is -23 outside but it feel like -33. It’s been like this for the past four days and will continue to be so till Sunday (Apparently). I still had to haul my butt to school and work and back everyday. I don’t have a man warming up my sheets and I could really use an upgrade on my mittens but I ain’t got no dough. All this to say I was in neeeed of something to help me get out of bed this morning with a smile on my face. Luckily for me there’s a wonderful Soul Shaolin from the Philippines who thought i needed some help to. I present to you the 1min 13 second track that opened my heart and made it possible for me to go on with this day. I wish you all a great one Xo -MF
Gurl – kⓘяvy
Dang this is a little embarrassing but I just realized that the last time I performed for HHK MTL was in March 2012. I’m usually on my A-game when it comes to the hottest events in the city but apparently school schedule had me slipping. It’s all good though cause this Thursday it’s Round 10 and I got quite the performance in store for y’all. Word on the street is I’m gonna be facing some pretty contenders so it should be an ill night. Have you registered yet?
It’s that time of year again! Call me introspective but I love taking the time to reflect on the best moments of year that passed and preparing for the year to come. Things happen way to quickly these days and my memory has never been my forte so these end of year lists are the one of my favorite indulgences. Enjoy!
Top 5 albums
Black Radio – Robert Glasper
Bizarre Tribe: A Quest to The Pharcyde – Gummy Soul [Amerigo Gazaway]
Something You Feel – Jai Nitai Lotus
Sunwalk – Modlee & Vlooper
The Good Fight – Krystale & Kaytranada
Top 5 Mixtapes
Collation Vol.1 – Dead Obies
Supafam Mixtape – Nomadic Massive
1999 – Joey Bada$$
The Bite Marked Heart – Brother Ali
Soul Sisters Stand Up – Skracth Bastid & The Gaff
Top 5 tracks
If (Janet Jackson Remix) – Kaytranada
Midnight – Nomadic Massive
Magic Look – Marques Toliver
Thinking ’bout You – Frank Ocean
Five – RT Beat
Top 5 Shows
Kalmunity Vibe Collective [Dilla Night], July 16th @ The Savoy [Jazz Festival]
Robert Glasper [Black Radio], February 24th @ Gésu Theatre
Jai Nitai Lotus [Something You Feel Launch], November 21st @ O’Patro Vys
The Narcicyst [Last show in Montreal .. for a minute], July 4th @ Bell Groove Stage [Jazz Festival]
Slum Village, BIG Pooh, & Dr. Mad from Alaiz, May 24th @ The Belmont
Top 5 Artists of the Year
Rose Pacesix [aka Sikk]
*Late Addition: Aisha C. Vertus