The Wire magazine: NJLQ album review

Originally published by The Wire magazine | July

Drummer Guy Thouin is the sole surviving member of Le Quatuor De Jazz Libre De Quebec, a radical free music unit that was active – both politically and musically – in Montreal between 1967-73. Here, he’s joined by two fellow veterans of the Montreal free scene, saxophonists Bryan Highbloom and Raymon Torchinsky, for a 21st century recapitulation of that original urge to burn. That said, this live set, recorded in 2013, contains more nods to the tradition than Le Quatuor’s ragged and militant attack would have allowed back in the day. “Bemsha Swingish” contains, as the name suggests, a nod to Monk; and the balladic “String Theory: Horizon” is a duet for laconic tenor and rolling drums. Thouin can still generate a rattling, intuitive clatter, though.  On “Tehai” he slots into a loose and wildly unhitched 4/4 beat, which slowly comes apart at the seams, dragging the saxes into a disorienting whirl, as though all three are flailing around in a cement mixer, desperate for a foothold.