INTERVIEW/PREVIEW: Sylvain Darrifourcq – In Bed With (UK Dates Birmingham & Vortex, 22 & 23 Jan 2015)

Sylvain Darrifourcq – Photo credit: Thierry D

The French drummer SYLVAIN DARRIFOURCQ is becoming increasingly well-known on the European scene. Under the aegis of the Jazz Shuttle initiative, which has been funded since inception by Sacem and is co-ordinated by the French organization  AJC and by a group of UK promoters, Darrifourcq has UK dates with the new Franco-British band In Bed With (scroll down for video, and dates). Sebastian met him in Paris: 

LondonJazz News Where are you from?

Sylvain Darrifourcq: Orthez. It’s a small town in the South West of France, not far from Pau. My origins are fairly humble. Not much culture. Surrounded by countryside. Basically the culture that I have I manufactured for myself. I went to music schools, conservatoires in Bayonne and then in Toulouse, but, in truth, that formal education wasn’t really the most important thing. It was more the directions where my own passions took me, meetings with musicians which led me to discoveries. I’ve come a long way, I’m now 35. I grew up with the music of my generation – Nirvana, Radiohead – and after that I found my way into jazz – Miles Davis, mainly Kind of Blue and definitely Coltrane.

LJN: You have been a member of the Emile Parisien Quartet for 10 years. What’s the story?

SD: We got to know each other in Toulouse. We’re of similar ages, now between 32 and 38. At 35 I’m in the middle. It’s stayed together because musically and personally we’re well attuned and the group now has a life of its own. Not something any of us controls as an individual, it’s gone way beyond that.

LJN: What other artists has your career to date led you to work with?

SD: I’ve played with Michel Portal and Louis Sclavis for example. With Portal he had heard me in the Emile Parisien, and he called me because he needed a replacement in his group for Joey Baron. For some reason hiring hadn’t worked out, and he was willing to take a chance on a young guy. I got to know Tony Malaby through him and we’ve stayed in touch.

LJN: And Sclavis?

SD: With Sclavis it was a one-off improvisation project. He got in touch saying he’d really liked my work, and he booked me for a one-off free improv concert at Jazzdor Berlin.

LJN: And other bands?

I’ve played in a Trio with Marc Ducret which has grown into a quartet. And in the direction of free improv. I’ve worked quite a lot with accordionist Andrea Parkins, and we stay in touch. She works with saxophonist Ellery Eskelin. There’s also the Hungarian saxophonist Akosh S, I’m always surprised he’s not better known in the UK, he’s made a lot of albms for major labels and has a big following all over Europe.

LJN: What gave you the idea of In Bed With?

SD: It was a personal initiative of mine. I wanted to play with Kit Downes and guitarist Julien Desprez. So it stemmed from a combined idea about particular people and about particular kinds of music: it’s fed by rock music, by electronic music, by pop, by improv. I wanted to do this project with people I have a real affinity with. This is territory we all really have in common. We were offered a residency at Le Triton, a club three day residency in June 2014 with a concert on the fourth day. Tony Dudley-Evans was also involved. He has been the project’s champion in the UK, and Jean-Pierre Vivante of the Triton club has been the French “parrain.”

LJN: Was it easy, putting it together?

SD: Yes, it was pretty much as I was expecting, because we all already knew each other quite well. I’d already played with Julien in the band “Q” which is reasonably well known in the UK, we’d toured quite a bit. And with Kit I’d played in Barbacana, which had been one of the very first projects to come out of Jazz Shuttle, and the other two had already played in Tweedledee, a rapprochement between the Loop Collective and the Coax Collective . So in effect we already knew each other’s sounds and how to interact with each other. So it all went well. I’d written the repertoire for the band. It was quite demandng material. As with all premieres, there were some things that went well, and others that were a bit more fragile. But we had an extremely positive reaction from the audience that night.

LJN: And IBW has some 2015 dates in the UK, and in France?

SD: Yes, confirmed dates are

– at the Hare & Hounds Birmingham on Thursday January 22nd (Jazzlines),
– at the Vortex in London on Friday 22nd, 
– then in Toulouse, also in January. br/>– in the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, at the Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham Ladies College

Categories: miscellaneous

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