François Bourassa Quartet Idiosycrasie

There's a seriousness about this outstanding quartet's music that comes, in part, from how damn hard they've worked to achieve such a high level of artistry. There's not a throwaway moment in any of the eight originals from pianist Bourassa. And the leader has an excellent foil in brilliant saxophonist André Leroux, who is capable of delicacy and rip-your-face-off intensity. "Isola" starts things off with assured physicality. It's followed by the reflective, exotic "Haiku-Darmstadt," with Leroux overdubbing bass clarinet/tenor sax and Bourassa interspersing croatales/orchestra bells amidst the oriental motifs. "Pressiert" has a twisting, start-stop melody that introduces some of the CD's most thrilling playing. Bourassa's dexterous solo is buoyed by the restlessly responsive cymbals of Philippe Melanson and driving bass of Guy Boisvert. Leroux is stellar, with his visceral tone and fluid, rhythmic lines flying off his fingers with Joe Henderson-like assurance. This features killer, passionate playing from everybody. (Effendi)