Bliss Station (Katzenmusic)

Eric St-Laurent

Released December 5, 2019

Jazz FM 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2019




The writings of Joseph Campbell on “following one’s bliss’ form the driving idea behind of this collection of new pieces by Toronto based musician Eric St-Laurent. With plenty time set aside to write, undisturbed and outside of the world’s fast pace of change, editing and mixing over several months, every step of the production was slow, deliberate. The set was conceived with featured guest trumpeter (and long time friend) Sebastian Studnitzky in mind. His soft, reflective tone lends an introspective quality to the recording. The fiery rhythm section of Michel DeQuevedo (percussion) and Jordan O’Connor (bass) provide a muscular counterpoint, while St-Laurent’s post-Benson approach supplies the blues. Recorded in Berlin, mixed and mastered in Toronto, ‘BLISS STATION’ is St-Laurent’s thirteenth’s solo album.

Track Listing:

1. Edges (Eric St-Laurent) 01:41

2. Shut Up, Silly (Eric St-Laurent) 05:17

3. Bliss Station (Eric St-Laurent) 06:29

4. Expand (Eric St-Laurent) 05:10

5. Calvados (Eric St-Laurent) 06:22

6. Mustard Arizona (Eric St-Laurent) 04:24

7. Forsaken Cowboy (Röyksopp) 03:05

8. Green (Eric St-Laurent) 05:58

9. Less (Eric St-Laurent) 07:16


Eric St-Laurent: guitar and keyboards
Jordan O’Connor: bass
Michel DeQuevedo: percussion
Sebastian Studnitzky: trumpet and piano

Recorded in Berlin
Recording engineer: Marco Birkner
Mixing engineer: Arman Don Müller
Mastering by Aria
Cover Art by Calvin Dexter
Graphic design by Stan Schmidt


Toronto-based guitarist Eric St-Laurent’s new album, Bliss Station, is a continuation and expansion of the work that he has done on past releases, including Dale and Ruby, both of which feature his longstanding trio of bassist Jordan O’Connor and percussionist Michel DeQuevedo. Both DeQuevedo and O’Connor join St-Laurent on Bliss Station, as does trumpeter and pianist Sebastian Studnitzky. 

Though drums are more common in guitar trio/quartet settings, Bliss Station benefits from swapping out a drum kit for DeQuevedo’s percussion (as on previous outings). Of the many effects that this exchange produces, the most prominent is that of intimacy: without cymbals, snare and bass drum splashed across the sonic spectrum, the acoustic nuances of each instrument become more clear, and small moments acquire greater weight. Another, more subtle effect, the rhythmic interplay between band members, comes to the fore. St-Laurent plays the guitar with deep metrical commitment, whether on melodies, supportive riffs, chords or solos. Bliss Station’s title track provides a great example of this, as St-Laurent moves through melodic statements and a solo with a propulsive, unerring sense of momentum. The funky Mustard Arizona is no different, though it is also remarkable for Studnitzky’s ability to make his trumpet sound nearly as breathy and understated as a flute. 

The fun of Bliss Station is in the band’s interactivity, as well as in the sense of immediacy, fun and rhythmic joy that the performances succeed in evoking. 

Colin Story (theWholeNote)