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Maneige — Live Montreal 1974/1975 (Live à l'Évêché)
(ProgQuébec MPM07, 1975/1998, CD)

by Sean McFee, Published 2000-10-01

Live Montreal 1974/1975 (Live à l'Évêché) Cover art

Live Montréal 1974/1975 could be considered a rough equivalent to the BBC sessions of many a British band, having been recorded live in studio. There are three extended instrumental jams here, of seven, eighteen and twenty-nine minutes respectively, displaying early Maneige’s strength in the realm of jazzy symphonic rock. “Le Rafiot” gives the lead to flute, piano, and various percussion instruments alternating between playful jaunts and disquieting, less structured (and possibly improvised) flurries. The saxophone makes an all-too-brief entry here, adding an almost RIO-ish touch, a nice contrast to the usual pleasantry. The feel here is of Santa’s workshop, with a busy but orderly and efficient display of musical prowess. As the track fades out several Christmas songs are played on tuned percussion at the same time as “Frère Jacques” is played on the flute. The general approach continues throughout the half-hour of “La Balloune,” which seems a tad directionless at times but still features some outstanding playing, particularly on piano. Sax and electric guitar are introduced into the above instrumentation allowing for more aggressive work to contrast with the usual lightness. The aptly named “1-2-3-4-5-6” is a relatively straightforward (by comparison) instrumental in 6/8, again with some tasteful flute work, and is maybe the most similar to later albums. This is welcome balm to those for whom the band’s later work is a bit too polished. Though some might argue that there is a noodly element at work here, I think sitting back patiently will leave the listener duly rewarded.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 20, 1998 releases, 1975 recordings

Related artist(s): Jérôme Langlois, Maneige


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