The Electroacoustic Music Store

Artists Pierre Tanguay

A percussionist, composer and inveterate inventor, Pierre Tanguay’s music shows the wide range of his experience in ancient and contemporary music, jazz, and music for dance, theatre and cinema. Born in Québec City in 1956, he has devoted himself to music full-time since 1978.

He plays with some twenty established groups, such as Jean Derome et les Dangereux Zhoms, Évidence, Castor et compagnie and Karen Young, and is the founder of Strada, Midi tapant and Derome Tanguay Danse. He has produced five albums and collaborated closely on some fifty others, and has more than twenty compositions for dance (Lucie Grégoire, Andrew de Lotbinière Harwood, Irène Stamou and Francine Gagné) and a number for theatre and film (Allan Booth, Imago and Roberto Ariganello) to his credit. He regularly tours throughout Canada and Europe.

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Pierre Tanguay

Quebec City (Québec), 1956

Residence: Montréal (Québec)

  • Composer
  • Performer (drum set, percussion, voice)
Pierre Tanguay, photo: Jean-Claude Désinor, February 2011

In the Press

La maturité de L’OFF Festival de jazz

Serge Truffaut, Le Devoir, Saturday, May 24, 2008

Enfin! Bravo! Merci aux organisateurs de L’OFF Festival de Jazz de Montréal d’avoir accompli un retournement temporel. La neuvième édition de cet événement ne se tiendra pas simultanément à l’autre, le «gros», si l’on peut se permettre. Après s’être rendu compte que l’offre musicale se confondait avec hyperinflation au début de l’été, les responsables de l’Off ont décidé de devancer les dates. Bref, il se déroulera du 13 au 21 juin.

La deuxième modification apportée est géographique. Adieu le Patro Vys, bonjour le Dièse Onze, qui a ceci de bien qu’il est un club de jazz à l’année. Jazz et resto situé au 4115 A du boulevard Saint-Denis, pour être précis. Les autres points de chute sont les mêmes que ceux de l’édition antérieure: le Lion d’or et le Pub Saint-Ciboire. Auxquels s’ajoutent cette année…

… La Sala Rossa. Et là, si l’on peut dire, c’est l’autre bonne nouvelle de cette année. Voici de quoi il s’agit: les organisateurs de l’Off se sont associés à ceux du festival Suoni per il popolo, qui se tiendra du 1er au 30 juin. Cette alliance, selon les confidences de Jean-Jules Pilote, cheville ouvrière de l’Off, devrait s’étoffer au cours des prochaines années.

C’est à espérer. Car au cours des prochaines semaines, ce duo d’organisateurs va proposer deux spectacles à La Sala Rossa: le Sun Ra Arkestra, dont on a parlé la semaine dernière, le 14 juin, et le Barnyard Drama, le quartet Lauzier, Myhr, Martel, Tétreault ainsi que Gordon Allen le 15 juin. Prix du billet de Sun Ra: 25$, alors que celui du lendemain se détaille entre 14 et 16$.

Puisqu’on décline les histoires d’espèces sonnantes, il faut insister sur un fait économique fondamental. C’est sérieux, très sérieux même. Le rapport qualité/prix inhérent aux shows de l’Off est REMARQUABLE! Le coût d’entrée des spectacles à l’affiche du Dièse Onze est de 8$. Ceux du Pub Saint-Ciboire sont gratuits. Ceux du Lion d’or: 20$ en prévente ou 25$ à la porte pour deux shows ou 15$ pour celui débutant à 21h30. Pour les détails, on peut se renseigner au lofffestivaldejazz.com

Bon. Après lecture du programme, six des shows au Lion d’or sont à retenir: la Fanfare Pourpour, qui aura l’accordéoniste et chanteur suédois Lars Hollmer pour invité. Cette fanfare à la veine humoristique indéniable est toujours dirigée par l’immense Jean Derome. Quoi d’autre? Il suffit d’écouter leur album paru sur étiquette Ambiances Magnétiques pour s’apercevoir que les membres de cette grande formation excellent dans l’alchimie des folklores du monde.

Le 18 juin, le saxophoniste et clarinettiste Chet Doxas va proposer un spectacle propre à aiguiser toutes les curiosités: Le Mur de Jean-Paul Sartre. Doxas a composé une série de thèmes inspirés, donc, de ce chef-d’œuvre littéraire qu’il interprétera en compagnie de Stéphane Allard et Zoé Dumais aux violons, de Jean René à l’alto, de Sheila Hannigan au violoncelle, de Zack Lober à la contrebasse, de son frère Jim à la batterie, tous sous la direction de Jon Sapoway.

Le même soir, mais après Doxas, les musiciens phares des labels DAME et Ambiances Magnétiques vont occuper la scène pour improviser à tout va. Autour de Derome, on retrouvera Joanne Hétu au saxo, Charity Chan au piano, Diane Labrosse à l’échantillonnage, Lori Freedman à la clarinette basse, Guido Del Fabbro au violon, Rainer Wiens à la guitare et l’incontournable Pierre Tanguay à la batterie.

Le 20 juin, le très courageux, le musicien essentiel, le contrebassiste battant Normand Guilbeault va décliner ses compositions retraçant la vie de Louis Riel. Il sera flanqué de quatorze musiciens, narrateurs et projectionnistes. C’est au Lion d’or le 20 juin à 20h. La veille, au même endroit, on aura droit à l’accouplement jazz et poésie avec José Acquelin, Renée Gagnon, Hélène Monette, Carole David et Jean-Marc Desgent.

Enfin, le 21 juin, l’affiche est alléchante parce que… parce que… le saxophoniste Janis Steprans a réuni trois autres saxos autour de lui pour clôturer cette 9e édition. André Leroux sera au soprano, David Bellemare au ténor, Jean Fréchette au baryton et Steprans, bien entendu, à l’alto. Simon Lévesque à la contrebasse et Dave Laing à la batterie vont rythmer le tout.

Les billets sont en vente à L’Oblique, à L’Échange, à L’Articulée ainsi qu’à la Casa Del Popolo et à Cheap Thrills pour les shows du 14 et du 15 juin.

Soundcheck Review

Dan Warburton, The Wire, no. 241, Thursday, April 1, 2004

On 14 December 2000 in Montréal, turntablist Martin Tétreault and percussionist Pierre Tanguay recorded an offbeat but affectionate homage to the history of jazz in the form of ten three-minute pieces, one for each decade of Uhe 20th century. Three days later Tétreault mailed a DAT of the session to French improvising clarinettist Xavier Charles, who added his own contributions on 29 December before mixing down and pressing the result in a ridiculously limited CD-R edition two days later. The trio can indeed claim to have made the last jazz record of the 20th century.

In today’s Improv, whose practitioners scowl joylessly at laptops and inputless mixing boards, it’s a pleasant surprise to come across the same sense of humour that once characterised Lol Coxhill’s and Steve Beresford’s work on the Nato label. Recorded in mono, the first four tracks are followed by a Pythonesque "and now - stereo!" flourish. Though conceptually rigorous, this is no mere exercise in cheap pastiche. Charles’s quotations of Sidney Bechet are as affectionate as they are accomplished, but he makes no attempt to ape the beboppers. Instead he sticks to sustained grainy multiphonics swinging between the left and right channels, leaving Tétreault’s mangled Hammond organ samples and Tanguay’s manic drumming to reference 50s hard bop.

Similarly, "1960-1970 Free Jazz Tony Williams Lifetime" finds the clarinettist emitting distinctly 21st century spits and rustles. The deliciously cheesy closing track, "1990-2000 Acid Jazz Electronique", leaves the listener in little doubt as to what the musicians think of the genre, especially Charles who spends the entire track noodling, Feldman-like, on three adjacent semitones. The inner sleeve of this vinyl reissue Iovingly reproduces Delphine Touzet’s delightful original artwork - «Sauvons le Jazz!» indeed. It has rarely taken such a hammering as this.

Modern Folklore

François Couture, actuellecd.com, Tuesday, March 16, 2004

When I was asked to dive into DAME’s catalog in search of intersecting points or recurring themes that would sketch discovery trails, the trad connection stood out immediately. Not only because of the importance of traditional folk music in the development of avant-garde music in Quebec, but also because the albums belonging to this line usually speak to us in a more immediate way and are easier to grasp.

It may seem a bit paradoxical, but tradition and innovation often go together hand in hand. When a culture’s avant-garde artists look for ways to overstep the rules of the music industry, they often turn their attention to roots — theirs and others — to find new paths to explore. Traditional folk music often holds at his core treasures of stylistic freedom and improvisation. Furthermore, its festive outlook can make it easier for an audience to accept and appreciate the introduction of new rhythmic, melodic or improvisational parameters. That’s what happened and continues to happen in Quebec. Here’s a listening trail in three parts, three original ways DAME artists approach the tradition: revisited, reinvented, and made-up folk.

Revisited folk

Late 1970s: a trad folk revival is sweeping the Province of Quebec, thanks to a new generation of musicians (groups like La Bottine Souriante, Le Rêve du Diable, and L’Engoulevent). Among these groups, many of which recording for the label Tamanoir, is a collective of crazy youngsters, guitarists who deprave reels and folk tunes with their melodic inventions and post-modern poetry. Among Conventum’s regular members are André Duchesne and René Lussier, who will later rank among the founding members of the collective Ambiances Magnétiques (sadly, Conventum’s two albums, À l’Affût d’un complot and Le Bureau central des utopies, are out of print).

In Ambiances Magnétiques, René Lussier has continued to explore a rereading of Quebec’s music history. His discography is peppered with folk tunes stripped naked and dressed anew. On his three albums with Les Granules (a duo with Jean Derome) he exaggerates the Dionysian character of the music (Le Boudin de Noël - or The Christmas Blood Pudding - on Soyez vigilants, restez vivants and La Chicaneuse on Au Royaume du Silencieux rank among the finest examples). With Le Trésor de la langue, he focused on our historical folklore, turning the words of René Lévesque, the FLQ, and people on the street into a new “Cahier de la bonne chanson” (a music book of old folk tunes that rested on the piano of many Quebec families in pre-television days). His recent collaboration with American guitarist Eugene Chadbourne signals a return to these roots — their CD L’Oasis released on Victo presents many revisited tunes from both sides of the border.

Reinvented folk

The folklore of a nation is not limited to a body of songs, it is also a state of mind, a substratum from which many artists in DAME’s catalog dig to reinvent our traditional folk music (and others too). On La Boulezaille, Pierre Tanguay and Pierre Langevin (masters of many European folk music in the group Strada) mix up traditional and modern instruments in search of a new, “actuel” folk freed from the cage in which all kinds of traditionalists would like to preserve it. Groups like Interférence Sardines and La Fanfare Pourpour shape their original pieces in ways that bring to mind the Devil’s fiddler or street fair music (music of the people, the prime definition of “folk” music). Joane Hétu’s Musique d’hiver doesn’t have that festive side to it, but it nevertheless redefines the folklore of our Quebec winters with much more precision and evocative strength then Nelligan’s famous poem.

Made-up folk

Traditional folk music refers to an instinctive form of music-making, music created outside the institutions and their codes, everyday music. And what if one wants to step out of the everyday? There is always the possibility to create folk out of nothing, to make folk-fiction. René Lussier and Robert Marcel Lepage establish their “musique actuelle” - a blend of free improvisation and reminiscences of trad - as the folk music of the future, the last enigma of a dehumanized world. The same goes for André Duchesne’s Les 4 Guitaristes de l’Apocalypso-Bar, the band being presented as trad rockers from the future (a post-apocalyptic future, mind you). And with Bruire’s Chants rupestres, Michel F Côté and his friends attempt to recreate through free improvisation the folk music of prehistoric men. We may have ventured far from the falsely naive tunes of Conventum, but this music still stems from a desire to go back to the roots of music expression. And in the end, there are many ways to call a square dance.

Portrait: Pierre Tanguay

François Couture, All-Music Guide, Saturday, June 1, 2002

If we could give a prize to the most valuable Ambiances Magnétiques sideman (or woman), it would go to drummer Pierre Tanguay. Even though he is not one of the nine core members of the collective, he appears on more albums put out by its label than any one of them! But his career cannot be pinned down to the Montréal avant-garde scene. He has also been a valued sideman on the jazz scene, playing with Eric Longsworth, Jean Vanasse, Karen Young and a dozen of others, and is active in world music, especially with his Mediterranean folk group Strada. In Montréal he occupies a place comparable to Hamid Drake in New York.

Tanguay was born in Quebec City, 1957. He began as a jazz drummer, finding inspiration in the playing of Billy Higgins, Ed Blackwell and Paul Motian. A professional musician since 1978, he also studied African percussion for two years in the Comores Islands and went to Paris to study tablas and Indian music with Anand Kumar. When he settled in Montréal in the late ’70s, he was already an accomplished player. One of the first musicians he hooked up with was saxophonist Jean Derome who would later co-found Ambiances Magnétiques. Tanguay has been his trusty partner for decades, first in the scrapyard ensemble Les Patenteux du Québec and later in Jean Derome et les Dangereux Zhoms and Derome Tanguay Danse.

Still, at first Tanguay let the Ambiances Magnétiques musicians pursue their experimentations, preferring to ride a softer avant-garde jazz wave. In the ’80s he was part of Icarus with cellist Eric Longsworth and participated in bassist Pierre Cartier’s ensembles. His relentless working schedule and rare listening quality and musicianship established him as a leading session drummer. With Cartier and Derome he formed the Thelonious Monk tribute trio Évidence and by the mid-’90s he was involved in all major projects by Derome, René Lussier, Robert Marcel Lepage, Joane Hétu and Diane Labrosse. With the Dangereux Zhoms et toured Europe and the US, appearing at every major jazz festival.

Tanguay prefers the role of sideman, but he has occasionally stepped to the front of the stage, particularly in free improv duets with trombonist Tom Walsh (the album Midi Tapant came out in 1998) and Derome (Pinc! Plonc! in 2001). In 2000 he released a first solo album, La musique de mon disque, a collection of experimental ambient percussion pieces. Around the same time he also began to write and perform music for film, theatre and dance.

If we could give a prize to the most valuable Ambiances Magnétiques sideman (or woman), it would go to drummer Pierre Tanguay.

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