Quinn Bachand is an old soul in a 21-year-old body. Or maybe he’s a time traveller from the ’30s who’s simply (and successfully) channelling the gypsy-jazz souls of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli. Whatever the case, Victoria, BC’s multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist Bachand is a seriously impressive young artist.
Blue Verdun, Bachand’s second album with his group, Brishen, is an unabashed celebration of all things swing, and a showcase for Bachand’s exceptional musicianship and versatility. With Bachand on violin, guitar, banjo, bass guitar, lapsteel and vocals, along with Brishen bandmates Connor Stewart (horns), Maude Bastien (drums), Paul Van Dyke (bass) and Béatrix Méthé (vocal harmony), Blue Verdun takes us on a magical romp through the musical landscapes of gypsy jazz and Western swing.
Remarkably, save for one track the tunes are all Bachand’s – inspired, fresh takes on old traditions, demonstrating a profound respect for that marvellous music of “yesteryear.” Moreover, Bachand clearly relishes this stuff and, as is apparent on every track, is determined to help keep it relevant and alive. The album is a joy. Reinhardt and Grappelli are never far from mind, but it’s Bachand’s masterful performances on his lilting Cheyenne (Quit Your Talkin’) and virtuosic Swing ’96 that take centre stage. I swear I heard hints of a young Chet Baker (singing) on Fading Light, and of Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World on Lonely Star, attesting to Bachand’s having done his homework. He has also made it nearly impossible to remember that he is only 21!