Bringing home dissonant histories

Victoria-bred trumpet and flugelhorn player Oliver Clements has returned launches indie-folk/hip-hop-inspired project

Olivier Clements is one busy musician these days, both in and out of Victoria. He will be playing with his hip-hop/indie rock/classical/jazz band Olivier Clements and Dissonant Histories at Hermann's Jazz Club on Nov. 26.

Olivier Clements is back home and he’s pretty excited about it.

The Victoria-bred trumpet and flugelhorn player says he has been incredibly busy touring with stars of the local indie music scene, such as Aidan Knight and Justin Rutledge.

“We had shows everywhere between Victoria and Winnipeg,” Knight said from on the road in Abbotsford at about 10:30 a.m. “The whole band is still asleep but I was able to sneak out to take this phone call.”

With upcoming runs with the Victoria Jazz Orchestra and the Victoria Operatic Society for its run of Annie, Clements will now have a chance to hang up his hat, albeit with a busy local schedule.

With all that’s going on in his career, however, perhaps the most exciting is developments with his fusion passion project Olivier Clements and Dissonant Histories, which has a rare live show and a first album release in the near future.

The band will be taking to the stage at Hermann’s Jazz Club on Tuesday, Nov. 26. The event will mark only the third time the band has played for the public. A full schedule for Clements and the challenges of co-ordinating seven other busy musicians has put the project on the back burner for the most part.

But that’s about to change.

As an eight-piece band with lots of brass and a three-piece rhythm section, the group plays an experimental yet accessible brand of music which comes from the seemingly mismatched musical directions of its leader. Clements writes original material for the group, taking influences from a variety of sources and writing a brand of music that’s hard to pin down.

“I’ve got all these weird influences that are all over the place, and I’m trying to make music that’s not awful,” Clements laughed. “It’s like indie-folk aesthetic with hip-hop grooves.”

While raised and trained as a jazz musician, Clements has also toured extensively with indie pop and folk groups, and also holds a blooming love of somewhat offbeat hip-hop, such as MF Doom, and classical music, such as Phillip Glass.

“(It’s) trying to figure out where I stand in all this,” Clements said. “I’m not trying to blend all these styles together, I’m more trying to reconcile them.”

A growing dissatisfaction with the direction of modern jazz music also spurred the creative change of pace.

“I was getting really tired of this idea where the band plays a 30-second melody and then everybody takes a 20-minute solo,” Clements said. “There was a conscious movement on my part to try to make this about a band … make it more about eight people working together to make these songs.”

Clements has also recorded an album of the Dissonant Histories material with other musicians in Toronto, which will be released in February 2014 simply titled Olivier Clements and Dissonant Histories.

With the album coming out, Clements hopes to start touring with the band and playing a lot more live gigs.

The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18, $14 for students and are available at Ditch Records and olivierclements.com.

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