Ariane Racicot - Envolée

She just opened for the Lincoln Centre Orchestra in Montreal

Ariane Racicot - Envolée
Photo: Joe Cancilla

Ariane Racicot is a modern jazz pianist from Montréal who released her first album, Envolée, on May 6, 2022 via Multiple Chord Music.

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Album review

Envolée, by Ariane Racicot
5 track album

It's an odd pairing musically, but Ariane opened for Wynston Marsalis' Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra on June 30, 2022 at the Montréal jazz festival. She wrote on Facebook, originally in French:

"I'm so happy and proud to have played this opening set at the Place des Arts, for my very first time at the Montréal International Jazz Festival!
It lasted only 35 minutes, 4 tunes, but what a feeling of being applauded and having a standing ovation of 3000 people. The energy was just amazing. It just makes me want to keep working hard and dreaming of filling rooms 💪
I also shook hands with Wynton Marsalis backstage, I was very happy to meet him 😃
Thank you to those who came to see me, thank you to those who follow and encourage me!"
L-R: Antoine Rochefort on bass, Ariane Racicot on piano, Guillaume Picard on drums

Envolée is not Wynton music at all: it's prog-rock influenced modern jazz in the lineage of Chick Corea to Hiromi. But it makes sense for a pianist who got views in the olden days of YouTube with a city piano cover of BoRhap.

"Bicycle Ride" is the standout track. The grooves are all there with everything from McCoy-style piano power chords and voicings to a proper breakdown, and the trio is lifting off in flight – that's what envolée means. Ariane expertly uses the whole range of the piano to make the band sound huge.

The fusion-driven electric bass sounds of Antoine Rochefort are key to the album. You hear the extra-low fifth string quite often, which helps get below the piano riffs in the mix.

Guillaume Picard sounds like he has a big drumset in front of him and knows how to use it. When Ariane's piano goes higher in the final track, "À ciel ouvert", Guillaume goes to the tom-toms – and even double kick drum pedals – to keeps pushing the arrangement forward. Some sections in this track are the hardest-rocking parts of Envolée, but the very, very end is the most intimate moment.

This isn't one of those progressive music albums that feels long and overextended; it's just 32 minutes long with six tracks. Envolée both hits hard and leaves room for imagination – and I'm excited to say I have no idea what Ariane will do next. Once you take off, it feels like you can do anything.