In the second part of the 70's, Quebec was going wild in terms of progressive rock undergoing a sort of cultural revolution/emancipation (Quebec was busy considering flying on its own) and a flurry of bands were seeing the light of day, a good deal of those not really caring about being commercial. Aquarelle is Pierre Lescaut's project; he was the main composer, but everyone in the group had interesting and challenging role in the group, not least Bournaki's violin work.
If you are like me, and have heard a few hundred Jazz-rock/fusion album, chances are that Aquarelle will not sound incredibly inventive or particularly original. What we have here is a very honest and professional album, which fits the mould of what was being released at the time. Sounding close to Ponty's albums of that same era, or many other groups, Aquarelle did not really manage to make a real dent in the market mostly because of the competitive market and the sheer amount of similar music being released, some group were bound to remain in obscurity. Sadly so, because Aquarelle were a very endearing unit that produced a very pleasant JR/F on their two albums, but it was not flawless. One of the more puzzling characteristics about their music is Courtemanche's wordless high-strung vocals (which are often under-mixed) that add some unexpected flavour to the music, but they are rather unusual and can be irritating. Highlights of this album include the (unofficial) title track with the heavy piano work, and the three part eponymous track Aquarelle, where the group does not miss to introduce their wide scoped musical abilities.
While they would go on to record one other (better) album with another vocalist, (this next one in the frame of Montreux's Jazz Festival), Aquarelle's works can only be seen as complementary to the scene of that year. If you are not familiar with their music, I can direct you towards their second album (this one being less essential), but it is not like you would be missing that much if you were not to discover them >> their records have not been re-issued on CD, yet, but it should not be difficult finding the vinyls at reasonable prices. Good but not essential. http://www.progarchives.com
Track Listing: 1. Machine A Boule (5:46) 2. Second Réveil (3:54) 3. Récital Des Grenouilles (4:06) 4. La Nouvelle (5:04) 5. L'Etranger (5:25) 6. Esterel I (3:41) 7. Esterel II (2:39) 8. Magie Des Sons (9:37)
The Band: - Pierre Lescaut / keyboards - Stéphane Morency / guitar - Pierre Bournaki / violin - Jean-Philippe Gélinas / saxophone, flute - Michel De Lisle / bass - André Leclerc / drums - Sharon Ryan / vocals