The Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill, although really being below street level, is a nice place despite being real tight and hot as shit. To be honest, I felt a bit underdressed for the occasion— luckily, I had a fine little birdie on my arm to divert the attention from my lime, green striped polo and sweat-drenched matching snapback in a crowd of what looked to be exactly what I would imagine serious jazz heads would look like! Fedoras, Kangols, and collared button-ups everywhere! Whenmy counterpart and I walked into the cozy dark sweat box, we headed straight for the bar, got ourselves a bottle of wine, and proceeded to get comfortable to enjoy some laid back vibes.
The three young men go by the name Kite Trio. They are a well-established alt/jazz trio that was formed in 2008 and have been on a heavy roll ever since! They are fairly large in the Montreal indie rock, improvised music, and jazz scenes, with all band members combined being in up to another additional ten bands. According to their Facebook page, Kite remains the trio’s main focus. These boys are all over the place, touring and performing in over hundreds of shows, many in venues outside of their hometown including Quebec City, Toronto, and even Philadelphia. Not only that, but Kite has received grants from FACTOR as well as the government of Quebec, and they have also been featured in a YouTube video that has reached over 4 million views! They were also finalists in the Jazz En Rafale contest for emerging artists. The trio certainly has quite the track record. I see a bright future for these young lads, and I must not be the only one because there first official release which is a self-titled album was crowd-funded! Very impressive!
While waiting for the band to start, I could not help but admire the countless portraits of the jazz greats who have come and gone hanging from the walls— or at least that’s what I assume, not being the most avid listener of jazz— I really had no idea who they were, but I don’t see any other reason for them to have like, 100 head shots of these people all over the walls? Anyway, on to the show!
They took to the small stage to play and promote their new album Strange Beast. The trio consists of Eric Couture-Telmosse on the guitar, Eric Dew slamming the drums, and Paul Van Dyk plucking on his monstrously-sized upright bass.
The lights started to dim as these boys started cranking out the smooth tunes which instantly grabbed everyone’s attention. The one word that comes to mind when I think of their music is ‘scattered’— their vibe was a bit too laid back for me personally, but I enjoyed how “all over the place” their music was. The lack of constant repetition was nice and it broke away from the usual format of the genres that I’m used to. Honestly, I’m not too up on the jazz scene, but even I could realize these boys definitely have talent. Despite my opinion on the whole laid back thing, therest of the crowd seemed to be really enjoying the set.At times,the audience gave off anuptight and firm feel and it felt like I was in a room of art critics.
As Kite trio kept laying out the chillness, I found myself getting lost between sounds. With almost every track goingover five minutes plus thediversity withinevery song, it was hard for me to tell when one song finished and another began.As I tried to keep my focus on all of the band members, I kept finding myself fixated on the upright bass man Paul Van Dyk and his gigantic instrument— I mean, that shit was huge andhe was killing it. The drummer Mr. Dew was pretty badass too. I enjoyed the tracks when he was using the steel brushes and they sounded real clean on the cymbals. At one point, he started just using his hands on the snare and toms which I thought was pretty dope. Eric on the guitar was holding it down as well providing nice, harmonic jams which sounded like he was just improvising notes to coincide with the deep bass and snappy snare and hi hats. It was a nice feel. The trio then took a well deserved intermission and I took this as an opportunity to indulge in a bit of house wine.
After a seemingly long while, the boys came back on stage to finish their set. They dropped a track called “Calapso,” which I really got into becauseat this point the music was making me drift off in my own mind and think about my past. I really appreciated the sense of nostalgia! I liked how the boys picked up the pace a bit toward the end of the show, but at this point I kinda just felt I had my fill! For the jazz-men andjazz-women out there,I truly think you would enjoy checking out their stuff. You can peep their work online at www.kitetrio.com to find music, bios, and videos and all that other good stuff.
Written by Coodge