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The upcoming projects of jazz drummer Valérie Lacombe

Published: 27 April 2018

Blog post by Chris Maskell.

Jazz drummer Valérie Lacombe (BMus ’18) is an active musician and leader in Montreal who has worked with many of the city’s most celebrated musicians. Having had just finished up her graduating recital on Monday, we interviewed Valérie over email about her experience here at Schulich as well as her upcoming projects.

How does the BMus jazz program influence your development as an artist?

Schulich’s jazz faculty is composed of musicians with extremely different opinions and visions about how this music should be played and composed. During my bachelor's degree, I had the chance to study with Rémi Bolduc, Kevin Dean, Christine Jensen, Carlos Jimenez, André White, Jean-Michel Pilc, Dave Laing, Dave Gossage, Al McLean, Jim Doxas, Jean-Nicolas Trottier and John Hollenbeck. To receive such diverse teaching has inspired me to define my own artistic values. It has confirmed my aspirations in both my career and projects I’m involved with.

As you perform frequently with Schulich faculty members like Kevin Dean and André White, can you speak about your experience with your teachers also acting as important musical mentors outside of school?

Mentorship is an integral part of jazz history and I am extremely grateful that greats such as Kevin Dean and André White are actively working to maintain this tradition. Kevin Dean has a residency at Résonance Café, where he plays every Saturday evening from 6-8pm with different students every week. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in this series several times and I have to say that there is nothing more instructive than sharing the stage with one of the best jazz musicians in Canada! 

I’ve also played with André and Kevin in less formal situations like sessions at McGill, which were also very educational since, besides playing, we were treated to anecdotes from their career! Dave Laing and I sometimes participated in these sessions together, where we alternated playing; I watched him play in the same room, then it was my turn to play, and so on. It was the most direct way to improve.

Are you currently involved with any special projects?

Yes, I’m currently involved in several projects:

I’ll be recording an album shortly with the Johanne Desforges Quartet, which will be launched in fall 2018. On May 12, I’ll be at Casa del Popolo with Vanille. I also recorded an album featuring Ward Swingle's music with the vocal ensemble Neptune, which will be released on May 17.

In addition, from May 24 to June 2, I’ll be touring Western Canada with the Sam Kirmayer Quintet. With the Laura Anglade Quintet, I'll be at the Upstairs Jazz Bar on June 6th for a "Carmen McRae Tribute" concert, and also on June 21st and August 31st, for the 2018 edition of Music Zones. I’ll also be accompanying the Bél & Quinn duo at the Intercultural Festival in Lanaudière on August 11.

Every Sunday for almost two years, I’ve had the chance to host the Epoxy Jam Session with the Sam Kirmayer Trio. We’re also in residence at La Luncheonette (St-Henri) every Saturday and Sunday for brunch time.

Finally, I lead my own group, the Valérie Lacombe Sextet, which features Dan Faulk, André White, Caoilainn Power, Sam Kirmayer and Mike De Masi.

Visit Valérie’s website to stay tuned for her upcoming projects and concerts. 

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