Open Spaces


music entirely improvised by:
François Carrier – alto saxophone
Michel Lambert – drums
Dewey Redman – tenor saxophone
Michel Donato – acoustic bass
Ron Seguin – acoustic bass

Recorded live in Quebec-City, Quebec
October 30 and November 1st 1999
Sound and mastering by François Carrier
Produced by François Carrier
Assisted by Édith Fortier


Reviews → Presskit


Carrier, Redman, Donato
Another stunning selection from the Carrier discography— finally unveiled. Here is how the track selections read on the back cover of this new release by Carrier, Redman, Donato, Séguin, Lambert :
1. Going Through (20:57)
2. Open Spaces (12:54)
3. With The Flow (19:27)

Considering how everything flows beautifully within, this could quite possibly read “Going through open spaces with the flow” in one long addition. Recorded during a series of live concerts in Quebec City during an autumn weather shift in 1999, it’s a little bewildering that this album only sees the light of day some half a dozen (plus) years later. Entirely improvised from start to finish, this luxurious recording doesn’t just vaguely confirm the talents of Montreal saxophonist François Carrier and his crew— it downright embraces it with reckless abandon. The magic on ‘Open Spaces’ can be attributed to the slightly unconventional instrumentation: two saxophones and two double-basses. Carrier has always known how to properly surround himself, something his discography makes clearly visible. And by welcoming the legendary tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman (famously of the Ornette Coleman Quartet from 1967 to 1974 / not to mention stints with Charlie Haden’s Orchestra and Keith Jarrett’s mega-quintet of the burning 70s), he’s found a parallel to his alto, to which he can adequately (and occasionally whispfully) prosper during this series. Throw in Michel Donato and Ron Séguin duking things out on the double-bass, and long-time beat provider (and Carrier associate) Michel Lambert on drums— and you’ve got an eye-opener worth the price of admission, baby. Free and uplifting, joyful and spiritual, and lovingly reminiscent of the finer days of the jazz avant-garde, you’ll no doubt be equally impressed by the results. PS- On a sad note, Dewey Redman passed away on September 2nd, 2006 (but this is another testament of the inspiring music he’s left behind).

In loving memory of the late Dewey Redman, here featured on tenor sax, Spool releases Open Spaces, a 1999 live set by a peculiar "double reed-double contrabass-drums" quintet. Redman is flanked by François Carrier on alto sax, and throughout the album this couple of forwards plays inspired lines moving from post-Coltranian recollections and invocations to a non-structural, fast-paced quality of atonal phrasing which travels in and around different jazz meanings, but always remains wholly comprehensible. Bassists Donato and Seguin perform their duties maintaining a firm grip on the lyrical aspect, keeping a steady pulse while observing the contrapuntal directions with concentrated serenity and resourceful instrumental command. The excellent Lambert glues the overall keenness of the musicians into a series of percussive frames where both swing and freeform switch-hitting articulations sound like a totally conscious and utterly intelligent decision. Overall, Open Spaces is an album made of cohesion and passion, full of elegance and freedom, luckily devoid of clichés and formulaic posing by the artists. A worthy homage to a great saxophonist.

Massimo Ricci / Touching Extremes Italy / December 2006

With Open Spaces, Francois Carrier has given us an opportunity to hear him paired with the magnificent Dewey Redman, recorded over two nights live in Quebec City in 1999. Carrier's usual drummer, Michel Lambert, provides powerhouse support on both nights, while bassist Michel Donato plays on track one and Ron Seguin on tracks two and three. This release, which was also mastered and produced by Carrier, is essentially a homage to Redman.

Redman, who died last September at the age of 75, did not gain as much recognition as perhaps he should have, but he was acknowledged as one of the most versatile tenor players around. His most notable associations were with Ornette Coleman from 1967-74 and with Keith Jarrett's "American" quartet in the early '70s.

The music on Open Spaces is by turns extraordinarily beautiful and physically exciting, and it seems to these ears that Carrier, although himself a master of free improvisation, follows Redman's lead. Indeed, there are times when it is hard to tell who is playing when Redman is at the upper end of his tenor and Carrier the lower end of his alto.

The free playing here is audibly tonally and thematically centered. "Going Through" opens with one of the most beautiful rubato lines you will ever hear by Redman (I think). All is mystery, softness and warmth, with a bit of danger added in. "Open Spaces" starts with a jaunty, humorous theme, again by Redman (I think), while "With The Flow," which sounds like Carrier's answer to Redman's first theme, brings back the first track's wide, deep silences.

Not only are the front-line players totally in sync, but the bass and drum playing is always very sensitive and supportive. Lambert has been with Carrier a long time and has a sixth sense when to lay back and when to push the group forward, either by erupting or locking in with the bassist in sections that can raise the hair on your neck.

Open Spaces, perhaps even more than Carrier's recent Leo release, Happening, is a wonderful introduction to free playing for those for whom it is new. Yes, there are periods of seeming chaos, with some squealing and honking and manic drumming, but these moments are reached by logical means. Then again, there are many clear themes, quotes from Lester Young and others that just pop out and shock just as much as the free-form stuff.

Put simply, all of these players know how to control the flow, density and emotions of the music as it develops, and this makes it "easy" to accept and follow. "Free" playing here does not mean cacophony, but rather an on-your-toes, in-the-moment experience of playing and listening. Enjoy.

By BUDD KOPMAN / November 27, 2006

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Additional information

Dimensions 20 × 20 × 2 cm