A New Generation of New Orleans Jazz

A Review of Misses Satchmo at the Montreal International Jazz Festival

Misses Satchmo performed at the Montreal International Jazz Festival Wednesday evening. Photo courtesy of Montreal International Jazz Festival.

New Orleans is the place where jazz music really began to take shape.

Six Quebecois musicians rejuvenated the New Orleans spirit by interpreting Louis Armstrong’s repertoire, while also performing their own compositions.

The Misses Satchmo sextet performed this past Wednesday at the Astral concert hall. They kicked things off with a cover of “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” a composition that was originally sung by the classic jazz duo Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.

The song began with vocalist and trumpet player for the group Lysandre Champagne loudly playing her bright golden trumpet. She was soon followed by the sound of the drum brushes, creating a relaxed circular shuffling pattern on the snare drum as the tom-tom drums were lightly tapped on.

The bright grand piano sound worked its way into the piece accompanied by the thumping sound on the double bass, the mellow shuffling chord on the electric guitar and Champagne’s soft voice.

At some point during the song, the tempo changed to a faster beat that paired with Champagne’s bright trumpet sound, improvising musical notes that fit their way into the melody.

A muted electric guitar solo arrived after the trumpet solo, trying to improvise and create different chord combinations as the tune progressed.

The song ended with each instrument easing back into the original tempo from the beginning, having each instrument slowly phase out until the hall was silent.

“We love to make people happy and to let them swing to some classic jazz songs as well as our songs,” Champagne said to the audience in French.

The band played their own song, “Lucky Devil.” This classic-sounding jazz ballad captured the essence of a 1940’s jazz club. The song blended with the dimly lit stage lights that only spotlighted the musicians while the rest of the venue was pitch dark.

“We love to make people happy and to let them swing to some classic jazz songs as well as our songs.” — Lysandre Champagne

The song began with Champagne playing some soft notes on her trumpet followed by the smooth sound from the clarinet and the circular brushing sound on the snare drum.

The electric guitarist played a repetitive muted chord progression that was accompanied by a thumping sound from the double bass. All the while, the pianist played the soft keys on the grand piano while Champagne sang along in time.

Both the electric guitar and the trumpet got their own solos in this song, each mellow and soft sounding. This allowed both musicians to take their time to deliver some smooth and classic sounds.

The song ended with Champagne’s mellow vocals, followed the playful sound from the clarinet to bring the tune to an end.

The song should have incorporated a double bass solo that would have elevated the tone of the song and would have captured a deeper sound. Regardless, the guitar and trumpet solo kept the piece simple and short.

The Misses Satchmo sextet performed a great set that opened up the audience’s musical horizons, delivering a performance with a variety of classic jazz standards at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Misses Satchmo // Montreal International Jazz Festival // June 28th – July 8th// montrealjazzfest.com