Gig Seeker Pro


Portland, Maine, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Portland, Maine, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Jazz Afropop



The best kept secret in music


"Local Music Review"

You won't miss a vocalist here. Micromasse, a jazz trio featuring Max Cantlin, Chris Sweet and Peter Dugas, is as cool as they come; showing off some incredible chops with the finesse and nuance needed to create a true mood. It's delightfully old-fashioned with enough originality. Standouts include "Hinche" and Ruelle Des Ursulines" in this solid 10-song debut. - Dispatch Magazine

"Local Music Review"

Micromasse's full-length debut is smooth introduction to the jazzy, all-instrumental band. It's the sort of record you can just put on and then groove for its entirety. The equation is simple: Chris Sweet's drumming holds it down, while Max Cantlin's guitar playing offers a comfy bed for Pete Dugas' organ to go crazy on. Questions? - Dispatch Magazine


Thursday, January 2

The groovy local organ, guitar and drum trio Micromasse (featuring the Awesome Pete Dugas on keys) alternately lays it down and tears it up tonight at Sonny’s (83 Exchange St., Portland) at 10 p.m. Free (all ages). 772-7774. sonnysportland.com. - The Bollard

"Meeting Micromasse"

ALL THAT JAZZ Micromasse plays old-time jazz with a contemporary flair.

The Fogcutters have to be one of the better local music stories of the past decade. You know you’ve got a fanbase with taste when one of the most popular acts in town is a big band doing everything from traditional swing to hip-hop covers.

So maybe there’s room for Micromasse, featuring guitarist Max Cantlin and playing old-time jazz, though this time in trio format, and all originals, without any singing. Cantlin, also known for his work with Gypsy Tailwind/Anna Lombard and This Way, is joined by organist Peter Dugas (the Awesome, Inside Straight, Zion Train, and more) and drummer Chris Sweet (Zach Jones, Dan Capaldi, Radiation Year) in creating a tight group that throws back to the hey-day of bop-style jazz, while bringing in elements of R&B, pop, and Latin works.

This isn’t American Standard Songbook stuff. There’s fusion at work here, and Dugas writes all the pieces, so there are times when everything sounds completely contemporary, but it’s more often you’ll be reminded of the likes of Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery on the guitar, or Rhoda Scott and Herbie Hancock on the organ.

Okay, maybe not as out-there as Hancock got, but check out Scott if you don’t know her. She could rip and like her, Dugas can certainly lay it down, with plenty of bass notes from his feet, too.

That’s how he starts “Novi Sad,” a 10-minute midpoint in the band’s 10-song, self-titled debut album. Actually, it’s a cowbell from Sweet that goes first, but then comes Dugas’ moody bass and trudging chords, setting up a foundation for Cantlin’s guitar to ride on, just a series of repeating riffs, feeling their way through the song’s open. It’s a completely organic experience that manages to feel digital in the way each instrument introduces repeating parts, transitions them to something else, and then exits for a bit. Like a producer with nearly infinite riffs at her disposal.

Then, with about 1:20 to go, the whole thing fades out and introduces an entirely new song, like Nigel Hall midway through a 20-minute build-up, but less manic (and Sweet’s got a lighter hand than most jam, R&B, or soul drummers).

Why make that bit part of the larger 10-minute track? Well, Micromasse don’t have to explain themselves to you. They’re going to go wherever their fancy takes them, whether it’s into a soaring crescendo that crests and plays out in “Tamed Cynic,” before a Dugas freak-out that ends in a solitary note like a laser beam, or Cantlin doing an upstroke and playful chime in “Hinche,” then moving to an improvised group of phrases that seem to come to him after a moment’s listen to what the universe is whispering in his ear.

My personal favorite is probably “Ruelle Des Urculines,” a waltzing ballroom tune that still manages to open like Midnight Marauders. The organ is sing-songy like a an ‘80s sitcom — is that Jack Tripper bouncing around the corner? Sweet is crisp with the high hat and Cantlin is reserved in his chimes so Dugas really has the floor. Later, Cantlin comes busting in easy and free, like California beaches and the wind in your hair.

“Fero City Shuffle” is pretty easy to sidle up to, also, with a big whack on the snare for a consistent beat and Dugas picking out a strutting bass with his feet. This is the most bluesy tune here, and there are echoes of that Buddy Guy revival that happened in the guitar lead, but the chorus (I think you can call it that) picks up the rock vibe and the song ends in a hurry, too short.

You can say that for Micromasse as a whole, actually. It seems to end before you’re ready for it to. It’s belittling the band’s achievement to say this album is great background music for writing or reading, though it sure does work for that sort of thing. But it also works just as well if you want to put it on and make listening to it your primary occupation. - Portland Phoenix


Still working on that hot first release.



Inspired by the great organ trios of the fifties and sixties but with an ear towards the future, MicroMasse carves a deep groove to please the soul with intricate arrangements to thrill the heart. Comprised of established Portland musicians Peter Dugas (organ), Max Cantlin (guitar) and Chris Sweet (drums) who combine their love of American jazz and European harmony with contemporary poly-rhythmic influences from Africa and Latin America.