Suite No. 3 the Cycle of Life
With the help of ten of some of Montreal's most talented jazz musicians, Montreal-pianist Alex Clements released his own CD entitled Suite No. 3, The Cycle of Life in October of 1997. The album, produced by Andre White, features his original compositions and arrangements, and was funded by both the Canada Council and F.A.C.T.O.R. Clements' arrangements, described as dynamic, and refreshing, promote the creativity, strengths, and talents of each individual musician. A virtuoso jazz pianist, Clements lends his never-ending support to this band with his strong vibrant accompaniments and his dramatic and often unaccompanied improvisations. His folk-sounding melodies and rich lyrical playing recall the music of Keith Jarrett and Kenny Wheeler, combined with the 60's modal sound of McCoy Tyner and John Coltrane. The final touch comes from the warm and often haunting voice of Suzanne Doucet. With her seemingly unending range, her voice is treated as another horn. The group's tight, and colourful ensemble sound is well balanced by the strong and creative solos of Clements, trumpeter Aron Doyle, soprano saxophonist Monik Nordine, drummer Martin Auguste, and tenor saxophonist Steve Kaldestad. The album portrays two formats: the first half devoted to a large ensemble and the second, to a small ensemble. Suite No. 3 and Toyland feature some of Clements' innovative and colourful larger ensemble writing arranged for nonet consisting of voice, trumpet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, trombone (Mike Fahie), baritone saxophone (Colin Biggin), piano, acoustic bass and drums. Do It My Way is a mellow, bluesy tune with a haunting quality created by having the voice, flugelhorn, and trombone heard in unison. The second half of the album incorporates the quartet sound. It showcases Clements' compositions Gingerale Ham, Thank You, and Drew's Lullaby. On the Caribbean sounding, odd metered Gingerale Ham, Clements improvises over a left-hand ostinato, which is reminiscent of Keith Jarrett. And Thank You is a medium tempo introspective ballad. The last song on the album is a reprise of Drew's Lullaby, sung by Suzanne Doucet, who incidentally wrote the lyrics.