Lise Vachon vocalizes freely over constantly shifting backgrounds from a band stacked with idiosyncratic sounds- Peter Zummo's growling trombone, Rashied Ali's restless percussion, "Blue" Gene Tyranny's avant-cocktail piano- the results are quite fetching.
Time Out New York
Featuring Lise Vachon on voice & chekeree, Byard Lancaster on flutes, bass clarinet & sax, Peter Zummo on trombone & didjeridoo, Vito Ricci on wrench guitar, "Blue" Gene Tyranny on piano and Rashied Ali on bata drum & bass kalimba. Just about every week someone hands me a CD to check out from someone I know little or nothing about and it turns out to be a great surprise. This week's prize goes to Quebecoise vocalist, Lise Vachon, who seems to be based here. and is Vito Ricci's partner. I was unfamiliar with Lise before... Vito produced all and co-wrote some of the pieces of this fine disc. Lise is a unique vocalist who has traveled the world and whose voice and style combine different cultures: West African, European, American and Quebecoise, as well as blending traditional jazz, classical, new music and pop influence. She begins with a Senegalese traditional song called "Yama Nekh", which features Lise's charming voice and the lovely, sublime percussion of bass kalimba. "Deep Felt Song" is an enchanting piece for Lise's soothing voice, Peter's moaning trombone, Byard's sly clarinet, Blue Gene's haunting piano, Rashied's skeletal bass kalimba and the eerie drone of Vito's wrench guitar, which is used like a slide. Lise sings in some odd universal language on "No Fits Please", which places her endearing vocalize amongst softly swirling didjeridoo, flute, piano and bata drum. Lise chooses a poem by Yuko Otomo for "Table in the Corner", which is a lovely lullaby with some thoughtful words that will keep you guessing. "Moi" reminds me of a song by Laura Nyro sung in French with some fine trombone and flute soloing. The title track has a few layers of vocal sounds moving around one another, some spoken, some bird-like sounds, a bit of drum machine funkiness and a cool hip-hop sort of groove. The final piece is a traditional song from Quebec called "Marie-Madeleine" featuring just voice and hand percussion and is a perfect conclusion to an unexpected delight.
Bruce Lee Gallanter
New York, Downtown Music Gallery
"Lise Vachon Vocalise (Say No More records)
Vachon,vcl,chekere; Rashied Ali, bata drum, b kalimba; Byard Lancaster, flt, b cl, a sax; Vito Ricci, g, congas; Blue Gene Tyranny, p; Peter Zummo, tbn, didjeridu.
Singing lyrics in several languages, as well as wordless vocals that combine World music with Jazz, Lise Vachon adopts a universal spirit for her adventures. Vocalizing with plaintive chants and emotional swells, she interprets feelings instead of stories. Creative and natural, her session comes from traditional music, Opera, New Music, and Jazz. Her curious array of accompanying instruments, in addition to those listed above, include Peter Zummo's all purpose funnel, Vito Ricci's wrench guitar and occasional bass. Vachon's program incorporates the unusual with the expected, as she partners frequently with piano, trombone, and flute.
One of her original songs morphs into "A Love Supreme." Several others deliver folk music themes that could easily have originated in any of a dozen different cultures. "Vocalise," her title track, presents the voice as an instrument in several contrasting views. Here, with her most appealing selection, Vachon sings fragments of lyrics in English, scat sings, and chants over an electronically manipulated vocal backdrop. Her entire ensemble joins her on this selection, as she expresses with a highly original performance. Her program covers a lot of territory, but this focal point brings out her best features in a thrilling combination. Vachon has captured the spirit of creative singing and delivers with a wallop."
Cadence: the review of Jazz & Blues: creative improvised music Vol. 32 No.
"In her singing Lise Vachon reveals an inventive patchwork of jazz vocal rhythms coupled with world music which is definitely worth checking out."
"Every track on this disc celebrates an array of distinct ethno-sounds and blazing instrumental traditions with elements of new music and pop but also contemporary jazz."
"Here is Lise Vachon's strength : On the one hand, she seems to have no stylistic limitations, On the other, she sets limitations for herself, and goes wild within them."
Frank Gagnard, New Orleans Times Picayune
"Lise Vachon (Cousineau) en plein délire microphonique, envoûtante,
se lâche complètement.... ; dignes d'un doux exorcisme, ses transes
vocales feraient pâlir Diane Dufresne..."
Jean-Christophe Laurence, La Presse, Montréal
"Slinky Lise Vachon (Cousineau) whose vocalise, a kind of
francophonic Africanized scat, is a language of its own"
Juan Rodriguez, Montreal Gazette
"...live, breathy, beautiful singing by Lise Vachon provided the rich
ambiance for Forge, a world premiere danced by Neo Labos..."