Quintette Sylvain Cossette: Second Cycle 

Sixty-something guitarist and former Canadian pop star shows his jazz colours, ranging fluently through chamber and fusion styles


Sylvain Cossette, a 60-year-old French-Canadian hailing from Grand-Mère, Quebec, began his musical career in 1984 when he formed the pop band Paradox with his brother François. The band released two albums for MCA but split up in 1991.

While he might be relatively unknown outside Canada, post-Paradox, Cossette has had a very successful solo career, selling a million albums, including 12 that went gold or platinum, and recording 32 number-one hit songs and eight number-one albums, earning numerous awards in the process.

Second Cycle opens with Couleurs D’Automne which evokes a chamber-jazz vibe. Yaoundé, in contrast, has a funky near-Breckerish feel courtesy of the tightly arranged horns. Orange is a fast-paced fusion outing adorned by articulate, subtly overdriven guitar. Similarly on the jazz-rock cooker 9 à 4 (reprise) Cossette delivers some impressive, high-octane soloing.

There’s a wide-range of styles here but all of it is engaging and Cossette is a clearly gifted guitarist and composer, utilising a broad palette of tonal colours. On Soirée D’Hiver, for example, his solo is fluid and lively. Blues Phrygien is however the most intriguing and rewarding due to its novel and imaginative deployment of the Phrygian mode, propelling the guitarist’s compositional skills to another level. In addition to the earworm hooks amongst the nine tracks there’s also some longer-term replay value here. Vive le Québec libre!

Couleurs D’Automne; Yaoundé; Doux Après-Midi; Orange; Soirée D’Hiver; Méditation No 1; Blues Phrygien; Sans Titre No 32; 9 à 4 (reprise) (65.37)
Cossette (elg); Alexandre Côté (as); Bruno Lamarche (ts); Sébastien Pellerin (b, elb); Alain Bourgeois (d). Montréal, no date.
Les Disques du 10 avril