L'Orchestre Sympathique - En Concert a la Grande Passe. 1979 Canada
CD reissue: 2005 ProgQuebec
Release details: Original LP is a single sleeve cover. While the original album is certainly low on supply, there's almost no demand, so if you're in the market for one - it will (or should) come cheap. The album was included in their concert pricing - a novel idea that helped fund the project. It's only been in the last couple of years that I was first introduced to the album. The CD, while not completely gone, is definitely tougher to source. It features liner notes and wonderful sound like all of ProgQuebec's product.
Notes: L'Orchestre Sympathique's jazz rock sound (recorded live, but perfect sound) is defined by flute and tuned percussion, and thus draws comparisons to Pierre Moerlen's Gong and fellow Quebecois legends Maneige very easily. And those references are certainly on the mark. One band that isn't mentioned often, but I pick up in the more intense spots, is that of Dun's "Eros". There's no hints of Zeuhl here, and it certainly isn't a dead-on reference, but there are a few similarities especially on 'Houmalaya'. As with any live jazz oriented album, there are a couple of loose improvisation spots that get stuck in the mud, but in general those moments are fortunately held at bay. About 15 years after this album, the Argentine band Las Orejas y La Lengua would release a similar type effort. Highly recommended.