Michelle Grégoire | Reaching

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by Michelle Grégoire

This Post-bop pianist and her quintet of all-star Canadian performers present eight evocative originals on this disc described as "exciting, beautiful, inspired and new while building on the tradition called jazz".
Genre: Jazz: Mainstream Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Minor Alterations
8:59 $0.99
2. December 1st
7:07 $0.99
3. Blues For Us
7:08 $0.99
4. Knock It
6:22 $0.99
5. Miles Away
5:08 $0.99
6. Joe's Tune
7:05 $0.99
7. Lost and Found
8:11 $0.99
8. Reaching
6:39 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Nominee, "Outstanding Jazz Recording" Western Canadian Music Awards 2005. Reaching made the 2005 jazzenvoy.com list of top 50 jazz recordings and the CBC After Hours list of best jazz recordings released in 2004.

This is a debut recording for the Winnipeg based pianist and composer. Produced with the participation of Manitoba Film and Sound and Project Cool 2004, the CD features eight of her original compositions and impressive performances by her quintet which includes top Canadian jazz musicians, namely Juno winner, saxophonist Kirk MacDonald, National Jazz Awards trumpeter of the year Kevin Turcotte, and top call Toronto based rhythm section featuring Jim Vivian on bass and Ted Warren on drums.

Hugh Fraser provides the liner notes and describes this work as "the most beautiful CD I've heard in years…exciting, beautiful, inspired and new while building on the tradition called jazz..."

Andy Sheppard host of CBC's After Hours says he is "very, very, very impressed…a stellar debut…Reaching has all the elements I look for in music to play on the show - strong melody, superb musicianship, a creative but accessible approach, great sound, and continuity of tone."


"Devoted to Grégoire's compositions, Reaching is deep and mobile. The MacDonald/Turcotte horn line sells an elegant version of vintage Blue Note swagger on the more forward tracks, velvet deep cadences on the balladry. Behind them, there is abundant graceful playing, but also detailed construction - a resolution in motion of questions about dialogue, counterpoint, density and punch. Without spooking the proverbial horses of jazz tradition, Reaching is a healthy reminder that post-bop jazz need not always be mapped as head, vamp and sequential solos. That this music is as welcoming as a hug is, perhaps, a bonus."
- Randall McIlroy, CODA

"It is, in very general terms, jazz of the post-bop sort. That's both a temporal and stylistic qualification, dating from the mid-1960s and referring to the twists and turns melodically, harmonically and rhythmically, that forward-thinking musicians of that era employed to free themselves from bebop's strictures -- musicians who recorded for the Blue Note label, by and large. Herbie Hancock was one, Wayne Shorter another...Minor Alterations, was very much in the post-bop idiom without turning into an exercise simply in revivalism. It was a challenging piece, unfolding at length as it did in shifts and stages, but it came with a flow and logic that made it seem complete in and of itself, no matter what else Turcotte, Grégoire and MacDonald (in that order) added by way of development in their solos".
- Mark Miller, Globe and Mail, October 2005

"Pianist and composer Michelle Grégoire, a mainstay of Winnipeg's jazz scene, impresses with her debut CD that employs four Toronto sidemen to illuminate the strength of her writing. She's fond of melody on the eight longish originals here, but her concepts are broad enough to let colleagues roam in between the fascinating structures with which she gears ensemble statements and exits, a style immediately apparent on the rugged opener "Minor Alterations." Her comping and soloing are always poised, suffused with a stealthy subtlety that lets the tunes breathe and develop."
- Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star

"Grégoire is clearly in command of a broader harmonic knowledge, yet her playing style is all about elegance, subtlety, and understatement. No sharp edges mar her approach, and she builds her solos gradually and with great care. As much as Grégoire's heart is in the mainstream-and there is a clear Kind of Blue vibe to some of Reaching-she isn't trapped in a time warp. Reaching may be approachable, but in a way that doesn't sacrifice invention, interplay, and understated strength."
- John Kelman, All About Jazz

"Winnipeg pianist/composer Michelle Grégoire draws on the elegant brawn of high-period Blue Note artists such as Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock in her debut, channeling small-group muscularity and groove through interesting melodies that are far more than spring-boards for solos."
Randall McIlroy, Style Manitoba

"Michelle Grégoire, a veteran jazz pianist and educator, makes her recording debut as a leader with an all-star Canadian band, including saxophonist Kirk MacDonald, trumpeter/flugelhornist, Kevin Turcotte, bassist Jim Vivian and drummer Ted Warren. Grégoire, who has studied with such notables as Bob Brookmeyer, Maria Schneider and Kenny Wheeler, proves herself as a capable composer, with eight thought-provoking originals. Like her mentors, Grégoire has a knack for utilizing intriguing voicings, and avoiding predictable charts. Her wistful "December 1st" showcases MacDonald's buoyant tenor sax, while her twisting ballad "Miles Away" also has a bittersweet air, with MacDonald switching to soprano sax. Grégoire demonstrates her bop chops in the strutting "Blues For Us" and one can easily imagine other post-bop/hard-bop bands interpreting her brisk composition "Knock It". Grégoire's lush solo is the centerpiece of the samba-flavored "Lost and Found" braketed by MacDonald's soprano sax and Turcotte's tasty muted trumpet. This is a superb effort by a pianist and composer deserving wider recognition, especially outside of her native land."
- Ken Dryden, CODA Sept/Oct issue, 2005



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