The Moncton duo of Jamie Colpitts and Roland Bourgeois are releasing their excellent new CD “Blue Monkton”on Sunday April 2017

By Stephen Pate – Years of playing have given Jamie Colpitts and Roland Bourgeois an air of intimate simpatico. They play off each other taking their parts with seamless ease on their new groovy and relaxing CD “Blue Monkton”.

What amazes me is we have two world-class jazz musicians living in the Maritimes. For example Jamie Colpitts, although unsung and personally self-effacing, ranks in my estimation with the greatest jazz guitarists.

The release will happen at Centre culturel Aberdeen, 140 rue Botsford, Moncton, New Brunswick at 7 PM Sunday April 30th, 2017. Since the CD will not go into general circulation, that’s a good time to hear the music and buy a copy. The venue is wheelchair accessible.

7 PM April 30th launch of 'Blue Monkton' at Cultural Centre Aberdeen, 140 rue Botsford, Moncton, NB

7 PM April 30th launch of ‘Blue Monkton’ at Cultural Centre Aberdeen, 140 rue Botsford, Moncton, NB

The CD title is obviously a pun on Thelonious Monk and “Blue Monkton” the 4th cut of 10 excellent pieces that vary from Irving Berlin’s ‘Always’ to Antonio Carlos Jobim’s ‘Wave’.

Jamie has been hinting about the new CD for months. I was excited to get a copy on Tuesday. It’s been on my phone, stereo in the car every since.

I tried to trick my wife this morning with “Do you know who this is?”

“I know Jamie Colpitts, silly” she replied tossing her head with a laugh.

I first heard Colpitts and Bourgeois a few years ago, by happy accident, playing at Moncton’s Bistro 33 on a Tuesday evening. Bistro 33 an excellent small French restaurant near the Moncton airport. The food was great but I couldn’t get over the gorgeous tone and melodic improvisation of these two. The music was as good as any NYC supper club.

Jamie Colpitts and Roland Bourgeois (Photo Facebook)

Jamie Colpitts and Roland Bourgeois (Photo Facebook)

Roland has great tone and phrasing on the cornet. He understands the melodic line and launches from it with verve.

Jamie is a throwback to all the great jazz guitarists from the 50’s and 60’s who understood it’s all about the melody. He’s great fan of Barney Kessel, one of the original members of the LA studio musicians dubbed the Wrecking Crew.

Sporting a Gibson Barney Kessel guitar, Jamie has Kessel’s jazz style of chords and intervals but I think he’s more melodic than Kessel, who liked to show his chops with fast improvisation. Jamie toes the melody pretty carefully until he gets an improvisation break. However, he rarely strays far enough that he loses the tune and the audience.

I wrote about jazz in the early 60’s when jazz musicians largely gave up melodic improvisation and went to modal and other styles. It was interesting but it killed jazz as a popular medium with which the audience could identify.

“It’s all about the song stupid!” got lost in the shuffle between Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis. It’s hard to imagine today but in 1965 I could DJ John Coltrane’s ‘Ballads’ at a house parties along with The Stones and The Beatles .  Coltrane was cool and innovative, kept the melody and fit a certain time of the evening. But I digress.

Blue Monkton - inside sleeve

Blue Monkton – inside sleeve

Always

‘Always’, the 2nd cut, is a good example of how Colpitts and Bourgeois improvise over the melody. Roland plays two versus of the melody swinging the chart while Jamie comps chords and plays mixed intervals behind him.

The melody is firmly in your head before Roland breaks out with an improvisation  on the cornet. Later Jamie gets his own spot before the song comes back to the melody. Here’s an excerpt from ‘Always’ where they make the first transition to improvisation.  Please click on the link Always

I have one quibble with the CD: it’s missing the meta data. Usually when you rip it to your computer, the meta data is ripped automatically. When it’s not, as here, the next step is to change the track names, enter the song titles, artists, year and composers. At least I know the CD data from the extra work.

The CD will be in limited distribution to keep the song royalties simple. If you can’t get out to the launch, message Roland Bourgeois on Facebook.

For more stories about local jazz, click here.