Melissa Pipe Sextet – Of What Remains

Melissa Pipe Sextet – Of What Remains

March 12, 2023

Melissa Pipe: baritone sax, bassoon
Lex French: trumpet
Philippe Côté: tenor sax, bass clarinet
Geoff Lapp: piano
Solon McDade: bass
Mili Hong: drums

with guest: Michael Sundell – contrabassoon (4, 5, 9)

Of What Remains is Montreal baritone saxophonist and bassoonist Melissa Pipe’s first release as a leader. It explores ideas around temporality: the shifting of time, form and being. The pieces form a whole, joining together fragmentation, symbiosis, distillation, evaporation, and transience, while looking at what is left behind, or what remains.

“The sextet’s instrumentation allows me to write in both traditional jazz ensemble configuration (trumpet and saxes with the rhythm section) and in a “chamber jazz” format,” says Pipe about choosing the unique instrumentation and writing for her sextet. “The additional colour, timbre and orchestration possibilities of the bassoon and the bass clarinet are particularly effective in infusing elements of classical and folkloric music into the pieces”. 

Her compositions here range from moody, atmospheric pieces to more traditional styles like a minor blues, but most tend to be on the darker, introspective side. “I write what I hear. Sometimes it starts with a bass line, a progression. Sometimes it’s a melody. The pieces on this album use a variety of jazz and classical compositional devices and techniques, but beyond the theoretical framework that I use to build its structures, harmonies, textures, etc. the most important thing for me is that it has to have soul. It has to be something my ear wants to hear. At times that can be something more modern, and at others something steeped in the jazz tradition: to me it goes beyond genres, it’s all about the soul of the thing.”

In addition to leading her own group, Pipe also performs regularly with jazz, hip hop, indie, and classical ensembles as a freelancer. She also had the honour of interviewing Yusef Lateef, whose playing and compositional style have greatly influenced her, for an article about his double reed playing which was published in The Double Reed, as well as on Lateef’s website. In 2014, she was invited to perform her arrangements of Charles Mingus pieces for bassoon quartet at the Jazz Standard in NYC alongside Michael Rabinowitz, Paul Hanson and Mark Ortwein, as part of the International Double Reed Society conference.

Release Date: Friday, April 21st on ODD SOUND