11 Songs, 43 Minutes


About L'Orkestre des Pas Perdus

Ranging in size from a sextet to a nonet, this Montreal brass band (whose name roughly translates as "Lost Steps Orchestra") is dedicated to having a great time without compromising any of its formidable musicianship along the way. Formed by trombonist and composer Claude St-Jean in 1993, the band also includes saxophones and trumpet, as well as a rhythm section comprised of drums and -- no, not bass -- sousaphone or tuba. St-Jean writes and arranges all the band's material, consisting of short tunes that generally stay locked in upbeat funky grooves with tight background riffing and a lot of hot soloing from members of the front line. Their CDs are good-natured, high-energy affairs that blend the sounds of a New Orleans or European street band with a host of contemporary elements, including Frank Zappa, Carla Bley, and Italian soundtrack composer Nino Rota. L'Orkestre des Pas Perdus can be considered part of the Montreal avant-garde musique actuelle scene and have recorded on Ambiances Magnétiques, the label of experimentalists like bandleader Jean Derome and guitarist/saxophonist René Lussier. Their two releases on Ambiances Magnétiques are among the most accessible -- and somewhat musically conservative -- on the label, but this shouldn't be taken as a criticism. St-Jean and his compatriots perform original and engaging music that should satisfy avant-gardists as well as anyone who likes their jazz with a liberal helping of adventurous, high-spirited fun. St-Jean has kept L'Orkestre des Pas Perdus' quirky, accessible, and often danceable blend of music rolling into the 21st century after leaving Ambiances Magnétiques, with releases including 2004's Mondo Cuivro, 2007's Projet 9 (with, as the title suggests, the group expanded to a nine-piece), and 2011's L’Âge du Cuivre (featuring an octet configuration with a substantially different lineup). ~ Dave Lynch