Orchestre sympathique

Orchestre sympathique (familiarly, l'OS). Montreal jazz quartet, active 1976-85. It was formed by Jean Vanasse (vibraphone, marimba) and François Richard (flute, piano) with Christopher Fleishner (bass, replaced in 1978 by Warren Stolow) and Mathieu Léger (drums).

Orchestre sympathique

Orchestre sympathique (familiarly, l'OS). Montreal jazz quartet, active 1976-85. It was formed by Jean Vanasse (vibraphone, marimba) and François Richard (flute, piano) with Christopher Fleishner (bass, replaced in 1978 by Warren Stolow) and Mathieu Léger (drums). The Orchestre Sympathique typically played a rhythmically vivacious, brightly melodic style of contemporary jazz that showed both European (ie, classical) and Latin influences. The quartet was known for such pieces as Vanasse's Citronnade and Sur le boulevard des chats mauves, Richard's Samba por favor and Perpétuel Balouba, and Léger's Houmalaya et les 132 Caribous.

The quartet's three albums were recorded on location: En concert à la Grande passe (1979, Cadence CAD-1003) in a Montreal club, Live in Detroit (RCI 521) at the 1980 Detroit/Montreux Jazz Festival, and (with Jacques Laurin replacing Stolow) L'Orchestre sympathique (Spectra Scène SS-1705) at the 1981 FIJM. The Orchestre Sympathique made its first European tour in late 1981, its engagements including the Paris Jazz Festival. Vanasse and Richard returned in 1983 to Europe where, with a succession of bassists (Wayne Smith, Michel Saulnier) and drummers (Eduardo Pipman, Xavier Crochet, George Brown, Bruno Docanne), they continued to tour as the Orchestre Sympathique until 1985, returning to Canada only for the 1984 FIJM.

Léger was reunited with Stolow in the fusion quintet Quartz which, as lauréate of the Concours de jazz de Montréal at the 1983 FIJM, recorded Quartz (Spectra Scène SS-1709). Léger, Vanasse and Richard were heard with their own groups at the FIJM later in the 1980s. Vanasse made the LP Nouvelle Cuisine (Justin Time JTR-8406) with the Czech bassist Miroslav Vitous in 1987 and toured the western Canadian jazz festival circuit with the pianist St-Jak (Pierre St-Jacques) in 1991.


Further Reading

  • Lavoie, Denis. 'L'Orchestre Sympathique prouve que le jazz québécois est exportable,' Montreal La Presse, 19 Dec 1981

    - 'L'Orchestre Sympathique s'impose en Europe,' ibid, 24 Dec 1983