Montreal group MAZ has many accolades under their belt. With this, their third album, there should be many more to come as the group tastefully takes Québécois traditional music in a new direction, as the group self-describes, “in a flow of trad, jazz and electro.”
Each member is a superb performer/composer. Leader/electric guitarist/banjoist Marc Maziade plays and sings with confidence and originality. His opening zippy clear vocals in the traditional tune La guenille foreshadow what the future tracks will bring, with a fast-driving bass groove by Hugo Blouin, great fiddling by Pierre-Olivier Dufresne, and Roxane Beaulieu on keyboards. The rest are original tunes which feature interesting style developments. Love the club dance feel of Projet 4, as a touch of folk is supported by solid low-end bounce and electro music. Le fléau moves at a nice walking pace as traditional music is modernized with a nice accelerando, bouncy melody, instrumental solos and closing squeaks. Le cercle dives into more contemporary sounds with its larger interval leap melodic lines, multi-rhythms and quasi-atonal harmonic changes. The fun upbeat closing of ID 4/4 – reel du chemin moves subtly from pop vocals and grooves to a more traditional reel so we can all remember where their music came from!
MAZ members are so respectful of each other that the multi-genre styles they are transforming and combining never feel contrived and produce fresh, accessible, inventive Québécois world music.