On the ideological/artistic environment

ideas, whether they are political, philosophical, cultural or artistic, are like the flora and fauna that make up a forest. (or any other ecosystem, but for the sake of the metaphor, let’s stick with forest.) any individual idea can have a constructive or destructive effect on the environment and organisms around it. some are parasitic and survive by killing surrounding life. some are mutualistic and rely on others to survive, others just float above and keep to themselves, or exist primarily to nourish others.

but what characterizes something so rich and complex as a forest (or, if you follow my metaphor, a culture) is balance. the strength and stability of the ecosystem relies on a balance and diversity of all the constituent parts. if you have a garden, maybe you want to pluck out all the weeds so you can grow some flowers, but if you went to a forest and uprooted every single one of some type of plant or animal (or introduced something foreign in order to effect the same) you’d probably be doing all kinds of damage without realizing it.

i think culture works kind of the same way. these days it’s all too common to see people calling for every instance of an idea to be eliminated, implicitly because a competing idea is seen as obviously preferable.

now of course everyone thinks they know what’s good, and of course you should defend what you think is right, whether it’s a political stance or a way of blowing your horn or writing a tune – but i think this kind of idea – the “weeding” of the cultural garden, so to speak – is a trap. the world is not a garden that you can cultivate according to your own preferences. the world is a forest – WE are the forest. the strength and beauty is in the balance of diverse elements. the tree only survives if it can effectively compete for resources with other trees, but it equally only survives if the other trees are nearby, preventing soil from drying out, fertilizing the ground when they die.

we all think our own ideas (artistic, political…) are the best ones. but they only exist when we allow the richness of diversity. history shows us that any time we have attempted to destroy an idea by preventing people expressing it, the consequences have been disastrous – and conversely, allowing the expression of ideas you disagree with allows you the freedom to express ideas that others may disagree with.

people who believe they can forcibly eliminate an idea, despite the lessons of history, have probably never expressed a truly unpopular idea… but maybe now we’re a little far down the garden path!

Christmas surprises!

Here is the FULL VERSION of my sax quartet arrangement of Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas Time is Here” – and it’s free! Please enjoy this and other eccentric xmas delights on this year’s edition of the Christmas Mixtape. You can hear me on the Oops Kitchen’s “O Come O Come Emmanuel” and I also contributed a little seasoning to Mascara Wizard’s version of “I Wanna Hippopotamus for Christmas.”

“A Boat to Nowhere” EP

Back in 2016 I recorded some music in one of my favourite formats – saxophone and piano duo – with one of my favourite pianists, Andrew Boudreau. I even made a blog post about how the recordings were “coming soon”… well, here they are! Stretching the definition of “soon” and maybe stretching out a little bit on some original tunes, plus one from Thelonious Monk.

The EP will be released exclusively (for now) on Bandcamp where you can stream or download it in the high quality digital format of your choice. It’s also “Bandcamp Friday” which means that 100% of the revenue from sales goes directly to the artist.

I’m looking forward to sharing this music and I hope you’ll check it out!

Frédéric Hébert “l’Aube” album release

Excited to announce the release of new music from Frédéric Hébert! I really enjoy playing his music and I think you will enjoy listening to it. The album can be found here and you can also check out cool photos below taken by Marc-André Dupaul taken at the album release show at Le Zaricot in Ste-Hyacinthe, QC.

New release by the History of Gunpowder!

I had the immense pleasure of playing several saxophones and clarinet on the latest album by History of Gunpowder, and now you can have the immense pleasure of listening to it! Alex Morison wrote some fantastic material for this and I think the final product is something really special.

Stream it here or on your favourite streaming service!

Ensemble Frédéric Hébert

Very excited to announce the release of the first song from the upcoming album of Fred Hébert, which I am very proud to have been a part of!

the album will be released on January 14 at Le Zaricot (Ste-Hyacinthe) and January 16 at Résonance Café (Montréal).

you (yes, you!) can support the album here.

Fred writes wonderful music and it is a joy to be a part of his ensemble!