April 1997

Lorraine Desmarais
Lorraine Desmarais

Canadian pianist Lorraine Desmarais is a power-packed dynamo whose right-hand forays and left-hand jabs keep everything in motion. Joined at the summit by bassist Michel Donato and drummer Magella Cormier, Desmarais negotiates a program of powerful originals. Equally important to the date's success is the presence of Tiger Okoshi whose soulful trumpet evokes a Milesish-glow. On "New Morning," Okoshi's bold trajectories electrify a canvas already charged by Desmarias' incendiary pianistics.

For the more contemplative "Eldorado," the pianist's ruminations are balanced by Okoshi's burnished fluegelisms. Darting between free-thing whirlwinds and stormy modal vamps, Desmarias and Okoshi soar above roiling thunder-heads set a-swirl by Donato and Cormier in "And One for Chick." An inspired reading of "Body and Soul;" provides a benchmark against which Desmarais' derring-do can be more clearly appreciated. It's an audacious take. So, too, is her limning of "My One and Only Love," in which echoes of Evans are transformed by the pianist's powers of invention, relentless momentum and technical panache. Brava, Desmarais!

Originally published in April 1997
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