Photo Credit: Normand Desjardin
If you’ve ever wandered the streets of Montreal, Canada during a summer night, you might have heard a group of youngsters swinging their hearts out, led by a dapper-looking cat whose banjo, briefcase and suspenders hardly go unnoticed.
Their repertoire goes way back, and touches to many things, with one unconditional restraint: it must swing. From Duke to Django, Louis and his friends play tunes that you have heard, melodies that might be buried in stacks of memories, but easily find their way back into your mind, with the great advantage of making your feet uncontrollably stomp to the jolly rhythms they come with.
These guys’ ability to call on to people foot’s muscular memory, on top of being a swing dancer’s dream and bringing smiles to sensitive by-passers, the group’s success has led them to bigger projects. I was lucky to be in their company when the brainstorming for a band name amongst the young musicians revealed to be fruitful, giving birth to “Louis & the Royal Pickles”.
A few months after the group came together as a somewhat official, branded entity, word travels all the way down to Mississippi that Louis and his Royal Pickles are to release their first project, an EP that marks the start of an experience full of potential. The standards are left on Montreal’s sidewalks and Louis Levesque takes his compositions book, backed by the arrangements of his French tenor saxophone, Aurélien Tomasi.
The whole is recorded in December 2013 by Maxime Philippe , and finally released for our great pleasure in this early February 2014. The texts are written in French, but the joy of swinging sounds knows no barrier. Accompanied by the delightful Marie-Louise Desage, the band released their first recording in what seems to have been a memorable night on many levels.
In sum, this is a refreshing, promising project coming out from Montreal’s streets’ finest musicians, getting together to share with us the joy of the music they, and we love. The music was made available by Louis online, and is worth a listen, if not two, or however many you’d like.