Born: 1955 in Montreal, Quebec
Genre: Avant-Garde Music
Styles: Musique Actuelle, Avant-Garde Jazz, Avant-Garde, Experimental, Avant-Prog, Free Improvisation, Free Jazz, Modern Composition
Instruments: Sax (Alto), Composer, Flute
One of the most visible figures of Montreal's musique actuelle (new music) scene, saxophonist, and composer Jean Derome is also one of the instigators of the music community represented by the Ambiances Magnetiques label he co-founded. The fact that he is a graduate of the College of Pataphysics and was the recipient of the prestigious Freddie Stone Award in 1992 goes a long way to explain the blend of absurd, childish fun and dead-serious avant-garde jazz found in his compositions. Born in the mid-'50s, Derome first studied flute at the Conservatoire de Musique du Quebec in Montreal. He taught flute and music theory in various Montreal colleges from 1974 to 1983. In the meantime, he began to work as a multi-instrumentalist, adding alto and baritone saxophone. His ground-laying work in the new jazz trio Nebu (1973) and the free improv laboratory Ensemble de Musiques Improvisees de Montreal (or EMIM, started in 1978) led to the creation, in 1983, of the collective and record label Ambiances Magnetiques, together with Rene Lussier, Andre Duchesne, and Robert Marcel Lepage.
Some of Derome's first widely available albums were mid-'80s duo recordings with improvisational Montreal guitarist Rene Lussier under the name les Granules. Derome and Lussier began collaborating in 1978 and both worked in a wide array of creative collaborations for many years following, becoming perhaps the best-recognized names and most-heard musicians of Montreal's strong avant-garde music community. Since the 1990s, his activities have been split between fun-ridden group projects (Je Me Souviens, les Dangereux Zhoms, Canot-Camping), jazz (the Thelonious Monk tribute trio Evidence), more serious music for theater and dance (La Bete, 3 Musiques Pour Ubu), and abstract free improv (Nous Percons les Oreilles). Derome released his first solo album, Le Magasin de Tissu, in 2001.
- Joslyn Layne & Francois Couture (All Music Guide)