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François Houle - Last Seen Headed: Live at Sons d'Hiver

François Houle - François Houle in Langley
François Houle - an evening of multi-media compositions that take full acoustic and visual advantage of the inspiring, new atrium at VCC’s Broadway campus
François Houle - Vancouver Community College, Broadway Campus Atrium, 1155 East
François Houle - François Houle is everywhere on this disc
François Houle - Down Town Music Gallery Reviews "Aerials"
François Houle - "Liquid" a new release from François Houle and Turning Point Ensemble
François Houle - Houle-la-la!
artist_pict François Houle

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Down Town Music Gallery Reviews "Aerials"
July 27, 2009, 12:00 am

FRANCOIS HOULE - Aerials / Solo Improvisations for Clarinets (Drip Audio 21552; Canada)

Description: This is quite an undertaking: nearly 70 minutes of solo clarinets and prepared piano with no overdubs. Considering that Francois Houle is often considered to be the most adventurous and unique of all creative clarinetists, this epic-length solo disc should come as no surprise. This is not the case since it is filled with many surprises and revelations. There are 18 pieces or sections and each has a variety of ideas or approaches. Starting with "Double Jeux," Francois plays two clarinets at once and creates some odd yet winning harmonies. On "Circulaire," he circular breathes a stream of slightly bent notes that slowly shift as he bends the notes in different ways. Informed listeners have all heard of circular breathing on tenor sax (Coltrane & Rasaan) or alto sax (John Zorn, Ned Rothenberg & Thomas Chapin) or soprano sax (Roscoe Mitchell), but I haven't heard of (m)any do this on a clarinet. The clarinet has a long, rich history in jazz and there were a number of great, influential clarinet heroes. On "Pour Sidney" (Bechet, I presume), Francois plays this delicate, haunting melody with extreme care, evoking some ghosts of the past most sublimely. For "Song F," Francois takes a fragment of a melody and slowly twists it into different shapes by inserting other lines or fragments into flow. Certain notes hang in the air and resonate, giving us a chance to breathe and consider the beauty or starkness of those drifting ghost-like notes. Obviously, a great deal of preparation and experience went into making this fine disc, hence we must spend some time to absorb it all. - BLG

Down Town Music Gallery