Report: Jazz Migration

Theo Ceccaldi Trio

Oliver Weindling writes:

Jazz Migration is a scheme which selects three bands each year to appear at (migrate around) the various festivals of AJC, the main French jazz promoters network, until recently known as AFIJMA. In the past, many of the bands have developed subsequently to major international profiles, and more and more have appeared in UK, such as Q, Donkey Monkey and Irène.

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So the annual launch event in December, attended by all the festivals’ directors and production teams, is a chance to look into the future of the French scene. And it was as intriguing as ever.


The first was Five38, a duo of Fanny Lasfarges and Rafaelle Rinaudo. The use of 5 string bass coupled with 38 string harp explains the name. Fanny has been known to us in London through her membership of Q, and she continued to exhibit much of the power that she showed in that band. At times, the sound was symphonic in texture, but that contrasted with many more gentle sections such as just their two voices.

Next was The Theo Ceccaldi Trio. A string trio of sorts, with Theo on violin and viola, his brother Valentin on cello (also a member of Sonsale) and Guillaume Aknine on guitar. A focussed and mesmerising trio, with textures also influenced by plucking that reminded me of Derek Bailey, and using the full percussive range of the instruments. They are about to release an album with bassist Joëlle Léandre – to be looked forward to.

Finally we heard singer Leila Martial. Her backing band, of saxophone, bass and drums, game the potential for much musical space Occasionally, as on a version of Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Smile‘, the gap was filled by the drummer playing tuned pads, but overall there was a strong impression, from her wordless singing, of a two-horn quartet, where she picked up stylistically in part from, to my ears, the likes of Maggie Nicols or Norma Winstone.

At some point –  it’s hard to be precise as to when –  these bands, who will have benefited from their regular Jazz Migration outings, will grace our shores too, probably in a year or so. Listen out.

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