Just as two streams join to become a single river, multi-reedist Philippe Côté and pianist François Bourassa have united to record the duo album Confluence. With Côté’s titular five-movement suite as a focal point, this recording represents a unique musical universe with improvisation at the forefront. Inspired by jazz and contemporary classical music, the Montreal-based duo present a selection of compositions that are at once mysterious, emotive and accessible.
Confluence is not a textbook example of a piano-saxophone duo album: a number of pieces feature Côté on piano as well, and the use of prepared piano lends the music textural variety and rhythmic solidity. Côté’s pieces, in addition to the Confluence suite, are the Gabriel Kahane-inspired 1190 Chemin de la Montagne and the sister pieces Muted Song and Hushed Song, all conceived for extensive improvisation with content and form.
Bourassa’s Tour 1 and Tour 2 bookend the album with Côté on soprano and tenor respectively, braiding together an engaging story. Three additional Bourassa pieces are featured in the program’s latter half: Chire reveals the influence of composer Steve Reich, while Truc begins and ends with percussive prepared piano. On Duty sounds stealthy, with staccato octaves ringing out until Côté interrupts on soprano with a haunting unison passage of stark intensity.
The five movement Confluence suite contains all of the projects possible instrumental combinations: two pianos, prepared piano, soprano and tenor sax. It’s all about water, and the places defined by its presence: place like The Forks in downtown Winnipeg; the spot in central Khartoum Where Blue Meets White and the two great branches of the Nile divide; the Ganges River in India, sacred in the Hindu tradition; Rideau Falls in Ottawa, Ontario; and finally, the largest island in Montreal’s Archipel d’Hochelaga. Tenor sax and piano bring the Confluence suite to a dramatic conclusion.
Release Date: Friday, November 24th, 2023 on ODD SOUND