Quatuor de jazz libre du Québec

Quatuor de jazz libre du Québec (originally, Quatuor du nouveau jazz libre du Québec; familiarly, Jazz libre). Montreal-based ensemble active 1967-74 in the then avant-garde style of jazz known as 'free music' and also, in the late 1960s, in pop music contexts.

Quatuor de jazz libre du Québec

Quatuor de jazz libre du Québec (originally, Quatuor du nouveau jazz libre du Québec; familiarly, Jazz libre). Montreal-based ensemble active 1967-74 in the then avant-garde style of jazz known as 'free music' and also, in the late 1960s, in pop music contexts. It numbered among its original members Jean Préfontaine (tenor saxophone), Yves Charbonneau (trumpet), Maurice C. Richard (bass), and Guy Thouin (percussion). Richard was spelled briefly (1972-3) by Yves Bouliane; Thouin was replaced ca 1973 by Jean-Guy Poirier, and Poirier soon after by Mathieu Léger. The pianist Pierre Nadeau joined the quartet for its sole recording, Le Quatuor de jazz libre du Québec (1968, RCI 271/Lon NAS-131515).

Jazz libre worked in Montreal bars (the Casa Espagnol, the Barrel, etc) and Quebec colleges and universities, assisted Robert Charlebois, Yvon Deschamps, and Mouffe in the revues Peuple à genoux (1968), L'Osstidcho (1968), and L'Osstidchomeurt (1969), and took part 1968-70 in Walter Boudreau's Infonie. It toured in France with Charlebois and Louise Forestier in 1969, and appeared on recordings by Charlebois (including 'Lindberg') and Infonie.

After operating an artistic and political commune, le Petit Québec libre, 1970-2 at Ste-Anne-de-la-Rochelle in the Eastern Townships, the quartet moved in 1973 to the Amorce, a coffeehouse in Old Montreal, performing there until the club's destruction 25 Jun 1974 at an arsonist's hand.Jazz libre also performed in 1973 at the Autunno musicale di Como, a festival in Italy. The quartet was not active after 1974, but the tradition of free improvisation that it established in Montreal was sustained in turn by the Atelier de musique expérimentale and EMIM. A Jazz libre reunion was attempted at the 1989 FIJM in conjunction with a performance by Guy Thouin's recently-formed Heart Ensemble but was cancelled due to lack of public interest.


Further Reading

  • Gilmore, John. Swinging in Paradise: The Story of Jazz in Montreal (Montreal: Véhicule Press 1988)

    Gilmore, John. Who's Who of Jazz in Montreal: Ragtime to 1970 (Montreal 1989)