03. Jeu De Dame
04. Comme Un Invitée
05. La Femme Du Cheikh Souffre De Chromatisme
- Claude Simard - contrabass, electric bass
- Jean Derome - flute, bass flute, voice
- Pierre Saint-Jacques - piano, melodion, percussion, voice
Recorded at Studio Marko, Montréal, Octobre 1978
Nebu arrives on the scene as Quebec begins to familiarize itself with jazz. Uniting flutist Jean Derome, pianist Pierre Saint-Jacques, and bassist Claude Simard, the trio combine jazz and progressive notions. The story begins in 1973, while Derome was studying at the Cegep St-Laurent. (He would pursue musical conservatory studies at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec.) The ensemble appeared regularly on stages across Quebec, as well as the Festival de musique ouverte in Chateauvallon, France.
Their first album appears in 1978, no doubt aided by their connections with Conventum's Rene Lussier (credited as production assistant) and the group Solstice (listed as collaborators, but effectively the managers of the Cadence record label on which appears the band's two albums). Each musician's compositions fill about a third of the album each. Nebu's sound can be compared to the classically-inspired jazz displayed by bands appearing on ECM. "Carcajou", for example, begins on a joyous enough note before wandering into improvisations that see Simard produce sounds somewhere between funk-slap and rubber bands, before abruptly returning to the opening theme at the end of the piece. The closing number, "La Femme du cheikh souffre de chromatisme" is by far the longest and most experimental track. This last one aside, this rather light album is easy to listen to in moments of relaxation while still keeping one's brain engaged.
The entire trio participated in the founding of the informal organization <i>Ensemble de Musique Improvisee de Montreal (EMIM), alongside Lussier and a plethora of musicians participating in bohemian fashion, in one day, away the other. Uniting the city's improvisational and jazz artists for shows in local bars and clubs, the EMIM also lent its name in 1979 to the album "Danses" (also released on the Cadence label), performed by a quartet which included Simard and Saint-Jacques.
Nebu was one of the performers for the first Festival de Jazz de Montreal, held in 1980. This same year saw the release of their second album, "Motus". Starting off in much the same vein as the first album, one could almost believe these recordings were culled from the same sessions as those for the first album. Electric guitars then appear on the second piece, followed by drums on the third, bringing forth a progression in the group's sound, now somewhat more nocturnal in tone. The surprise this time around is the album sleeve: Derome chose to draw the 1000 copies by hand, making each copy a unique item.
Nebu stopped functioning as a trio in 1981, but pursued their affiliations with the EMIM until its dissolution in 1985. The latter would then be restructured into a more official form as l'Association pour la Diffusion des Musiques Ouvertes (ADMO). The ADMO would see to the operations of the No Man's Land festival, running alongside the Festival de Jazz de Montréal. Amongst the trio's members, Jean Derome's post-band activities are best documented: founding the <Ambiances Magnetiques label with Lussier, he benefits by recording with various artists (including Fred Frith, Chris Cutler, and Pierre Tanguay, amongst others), as well as with his own group, Jean Derome et les Dangereux Zhoms. St-Jacques (renamed Pierre St-Jak) frequents the same spheres of activity as Derome, be it in duos and bands (such as St-Jak Workshop Non Stop, St-Jak Quartet Off-On, L'Hotel du bout de la terre and St-Jak/Vendette, the latter appearing as recently as 2006) or in solo form (recording his sixth album in 2002, for the Monsieux Fauteux, m'entendez-vous? label). St-Jak also became one of the main organizers for the Montreal OFF Festival de Jazz