Home: Montreal #5 - "Plateau Mont-Royal"
5. P.M.R - Plateau Mont-Royal: Escaping the downtown, Beth reaches the Montreal Plateau- Mont-Royal. Inspired by the view east-ward from the statue on Parc/Rachel, P.M.R explores the culturally diverse community of the Plateau. The conversational solos between Rachel Therrien and Rémi Cormier (trumpets) as well as between Alex Dion and Claire Devlin (saxes) reflect on the nature of the Plateau as being a meeting place, many restaurants, cafes, festivals, activities and shops.
The genre mixes in this movement go from Afro-Peruvian (reflecting on the ethnic diversity in the Plateau), to R&B, to 6/8 jazz-rock with a hint of indie influence as well. Towards the end of the piece where the initial idea returns but in a climax of the work, Beth was inspired by viewing the plateau from the other end of it, at Rachel/Parc Lafontaine, seeing the entire plateau and Parc Mont-Royal entirely, off in the distance.
Home: Montreal #6 - "Pie-IX/Viau"
6. Pie-IX/Viau – A World’s Stage: A piece reflecting on a historical overview of the Olympic Stadium complex and the surrounding area. From an ad. Lib piano solo (Jonathan Turgeon), left with few constraints, working towards the area via metro, Beth reflects on what starts as an empty slate, and focuses on the development of the grand Olympic complex in Montreal-East.
As the building begins, the music takes a very strict, industrial sound to it in mixed metres (not in 4/4 like most music). The competition begins, and the world’s athletes and media approaches on Montreal. In a competitive, angry/aggressive style, the band illustrates the start of competition. T
he piece also reflects on the abandonment of the site after the games, how it went through different uses and developments before becoming what it is today, used by the Montreal community and a wonderful developmental asset to the city in its current state.
Originally a chart written for Beth's quartet to feature her new EWI, Ele(ctro)phant is a fun rock-funk piece that really sets itself apart from the rest of Beth's writing style and approach to jazz orchestra composition. This work leaves expanded solo space for her rhythm section (Simon Pagé on Bass, François Jalbert on Guitar, Guillaume Martineau on Nord keyboard and Peter Colantonio on drums) to freely improvise using their electronic effects, pedals and sounds that are not traditionally used in a big band.
Based on a simple form and long sections of modal playing, this groovy track features Guillaume Martineau (keys), François Jalbert (Guitar) and Hichem Khalfa (trumpet). The piece then opens up to an unaccompanied, face-melting bass solo by Simon Pagé.
Ele(ctro)phant has become a crowd-pleaser at BMJO concerts, used as an "encore", giving the band opportunities to solo and really "cut loose" over this easier, straight-ahead groove, fun big band chart.
Home: Montreal #8 - Departure
8. Departure: The final movement of Home: Montréal, Beth ends off the suite with a final reflection on all of the movements prior to the final. Beth takes her turn at adding her own artistic sound to the band by taking over the solo tenor sax part, trading off solos conversationally with Rachel Therrien as a joint feature. Beth takes a turn to push and interact with the band musically as a soloist as well in a high-energy rock section as the piece builds.
The piece sums up Montreal as a grand overview of the entire city, and Beth’s experience from living there. The piece also illustrates for the listeners, the sentiment of moving on and leaving the city, as the suite brings its listeners on a musically illustrated visit of the city throughout the earlier 7 movements. By the end of the movement, the work is musically resolved and the listeners are left with a sense of completion from the entire suite.
Home: Montreal #4 - Downtown
4. Downtown: An illustration based on the chaos, grandiosity, excitement and largely booming downtown core of Montreal, the movement rapidly changes ideas, structures and motifs throughout the piece. The start of the piece reflects on sitting in a downtown park, near Parc Mont-Royal, looking out at the city from above. As things get started, the piece continues into the downtown core, which around the Quartier des Spectacles and core, is busy but scenic with festivities and events going on nearly year-round.
The piece takes darker turns into clashing harmonies and intensities as rush hour traffic on Rene-Levesque picks up rapidly as frustration and traffic sets in. Beth also reflects on the constant construction and development going on throughout the city, traffic snarls, disputes, political demonstrations and conflict, which can also occur in such a diverse place as Montreal. From the harsh colours and intensities, resolution occurs, and Beth continues to explore and illustrate the beautiful downtown core of Montreal, ending where she began, heading towards the Plateau and Parc Mont- Royal.
Home: Montreal #2 - Vieux Port/Vieux-Montreal
A mostly quiet spot throughout the year, the Old Port of Montréal is one of the most historic places in all of Montréal. A part of the city that varies the most widely in terms of activity and life, Beth reflects on the city starting out from the Old Port, what may have been centuries ago, and what has happened since.
The clarinet solo (Paul Carter) opens and closes the movement with a theme that whirls and sweeps in melodic gestures. This is showing movement, life, orderly and importance in early Montreal. The piece then evolves into a trumpet solo (Rachel Therrien) that is full of empty space and room for free improvisation, with minimal accompaniment. The solo develops and gains momentum, as the Old Port stretches into the city that Montreal has become today.
The activity and development builds in the area while still maintaining the historical aspects of the area. The transition to the soulful guitar and lead tenor sax solo (François Jalbert and Annie Dominique) looks at the Old Port today... often barren and empty aside from visitor season. Cold, lifeless for the most part of the winter and fall months.
The change of colour into the bass trombone solo (Chris Smith) reflects on the development and summers in the Old Port, with its vibrant, busy and fast-paced atmosphere. The clarinet solo returns as the listeners move on to the next part of Montréal in this suite, as the festivities end and the visitors leave the area and it once again continues its cycle as a historic part of Montreal.