OFF Jazz | Razalaz… Intriguing Fusion Jazz Worth Discovering

by Michel Labrecque

Razalaz is the band of Olivier Salazar, who composes and directs the music.

This sextet calls itself a jazz-funk band. For my part, I’d add that it also has prog-rock and atmospheric film music influences.

At least, that’s how I felt at Razalaz’s concert at Le Ministère on October 10, as part of Off Jazz. Olivier Salazar loves mixes and fusions. His track record bears witness to this: he’s played with the likes of Louis-Jean Cormier, Jacques Kuba Séguin and the funky The Brooks.

He plays keyboards and vibraphone. Maybe it’s his vibraphone that reminds me of progressive rock. He plays more like Kerry Minnear of Gentle Giant than Gary Burton. At times, I had the impression of hearing King Crimson or Snarky Puppy, the American jazz-fusion band.

But Razalaz invents its own sound. The group offered a renewed version of its latest album, Jungle Givrée, released less than a year ago. It was also able to perform a few tracks from its debut opus, Océan Sucré, from 2019.

Just by reading the titles of this album, you understand that Razalaz also has a sense of humour, which you can feel in the music. And it’s even clearer when Olivier Salazar tells you on stage the genesis of what inspired the song titles. The story of Bronzage Napolitain is very funny: a white Québécois-Chilean who burns under the Brazilian sun. It’s the story of Olivier Salazar.

Razalaz doesn’t take itself too seriously but sometimes makes serious, inspired music. Jazz, funk, some very gentle moments. Among the instrumentalists, Andy King’s trumpet stands out.

Also featured are Émile Farley on bass, Alex Francoeur on saxophone, François Jalbert on guitar and Noam Guerrier-Freud on drums.

Razalaz is an intriguing bug that we’ll have to keep listening to, to see how far it will go and how it will mutate.

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