Philippe Côté & Francois Bourassa – Confluence (ENG review)

ODD Sound – Street date November 24th 2023
Classique, World Music
Philippe Côté & Francois Bourassa – Confluence (ENG review)

This is an album that oscillates between romanticism, poetry, and even delves into personal introspection. Indeed, one does not emerge unscathed from this album, which compels a profound listening experience as the only means to appreciate its meaning. In the press notes, one can read, ‘Just as two streams come together to form a single river, multi-instrumentalist Philippe Côté and pianist François Bourassa have joined forces to record the duo album titled “Confluence.” With Côté’s five-movement suite as the focal point, this recording represents a unique musical universe with improvisation at the forefront. Inspired by jazz and contemporary classical music, this Montreal-based duo presents a selection of compositions that are mysterious, emotional, and accessible.’
It’s impossible to discern any trace of jazz here; we are faced with a work that sometimes borrows from world music and, above all, classical music. These are radical compositions where the piano, highlighted by multi-instrumentalist Philippe Côté with an architectural form close to genius, takes center stage. The five-movement suite “Confluence” incorporates all possible instrumental combinations for the project: two pianos, prepared piano, soprano and tenor saxophones. It revolves around water and places defined by its presence: locations like “The Forks” in downtown Winnipeg; the central point in Khartoum where blue meets white and the two great arms of the Nile divide; the sacred Ganges River in India in Hindu tradition; the Rideau Falls in Ottawa, Ontario; and finally, the largest island in the Hochelaga archipelago in Montreal. The tenor saxophone and piano conclude the “Confluence” suite dramatically.
As you can see, it’s more of a sonic journey to which we are invited, a story to engage our senses. It’s an album to be listened to at home, and, of course, you won’t hear it on Bayou Blue Radio because, once again, we are preparing for the transition to FM, and this kind of work with uneven sound levels, for example, wouldn’t be audible in a car, spoiling the listening experience.
However, this is not a drawback because, for me, this kind of work is meant to be listened to and experienced live on stage or on CD at home. The remarkable mixing of this album allows for the in-depth listening experience I mentioned earlier. We should encourage such artists and works to be experienced, primarily by seeing them in concert and not hesitating to invest in such a CD. It’s certainly not easy music, but it’s music that nourishes our soul, making it a lovely ‘favorite’ for the editorial teams at Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, November 11th 2023


To buy this album

Philippe Côté’s website

Francois Bourassa’s website