|The Quatuor Machaut of four saxophones playing in 2015 in an empty swiming pool in Orléans
Photo Credit OJazz/ JLD
Sebastian reports from the French AJC meeting bringing together festival organizers and regional jazz organizations from all over France, and the “Jazz Migration” showcase:
“Jazz Migration” has been around since 2002. It is an annual scheme whereby AJC – Association Jazzé Croisé – which used to be called AFIJMA – gives support to a selection of young bands which appear at festivals and venues, mostly in France but also abroad, and – and this is new – continues in a second year to give them administrative and logistical support. The four bands in this showcase were selected from over 100 applicants in a transparent process. This showcase is witnessed by a major cross section of promoters from France and all over Europe – four from the UK. The French scene functions in a very joined-up way, and the showcase was also the occasion for one of the main gatherings of the French industry and funders.
The discussions revolved around the theme of how private promoters and the musician-led collectives interact with the venues and festivals, with the common aim of helping sustainable development of artists, bands, audiences. Whoever helps it on its way, there is underlying creative energy to the scene.
Here are quick reports on the four bands:
QUATUOR MACHAUT (picture above)
(I have interviewed the leader of the group Quentin Biardeau and that will be published later.)
The Quatuor Machaut consists of four saxophones from the town in Orleans on the Loire in central France. Their point of departure is the choral writing of Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377), and in particular the Messe de Notre Dame. The saxophones take the choral parts, but also improvise and experiment in sound – multi-phonics, slap tonguing, microtones. They play in resonant spaces, have recorded an album in the abbey at Noirlac, and particularly enjoyed the resonance and the ambiance of an empty swimming pool where they performed a concert (photo above, video of the swimming pool concert)).
Post K (pronounced Post Ka, the letter K signifies Katrina) involves the two conservatoire-honed reed-playing brothers Benjamin and Jean Dousteyssier, originally from the South-west of France, who are now both involved in several jazz/world projects in Paris. Jean is the youngest member of the current Orchestre National de Jazz. Both have “rising star” status in France. This project, with piano and drums is a very musical New Orleans Dixieland deconstruction. They have fun keeping the audience guessing whether they are venerating the tradition – or sending it up. The blurb talks about a “knowing deconstruction”. (Link to a positive review and video clip)
The band PJ5 are the One most likely to find their way into larger venues and festival stages. The music is full of energy, and commitment, heading off in a heavy anthemic prog rock direction – the leader /composer is the guitarist Paul Jarret and the band has a young bassist and drummer, both with feral energy. (video)
Watchdog is a thoughful quiet clarinet (or alto or bass clarinet) and Fender Rhodes/ Moog duo. This is a small-scale project for Anne Quillier who is a respected young pianist/ composer who leads her own groups including a sextet. There is some story/blurb which I didn’t quite get to the bottom of about surveillance in society. They are interesting musicians – I think – at a relatively early stage of this collaboration (Video)
LINK: JAZZ MIGRATION WEBSITE
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