JANUARY 2014 – JUNE 2018 MANDATE
Whether appearing solo as a guitarist or leading orchestras whose personnel and size couldn’t vary more — they range from the quartet to the big-band —, Olivier Benoit’s sole obsession has always been to further his explorations of territories still barely represented on the official map of contemporary music.
Appointed for a term of four and half years at the head of the Orchestre National de Jazz (ONJ), the composer and guitarist Olivier Benoit inaugurates with his musicians the eleventh orchestra in the history of the institution. Motivated by the desire to have an intergenerational orchestra open to multiple stylistic registers, Olivier Benoit picked ten musicians of rare character, ranging from new talents on the French jazz scene to instrumentalists with years of experience to their credit, all players firmly committed to research in various fields of music. The result produced an ONJ ready to take on every aesthetic challenge possible, an orchestra capable of fulfilling the ambition lying at the heart of his project : to free genres from the compartments which separate them.
Cities like you never heard them before !
As a program highlighted by Olivier Benoit throughout his mandate at the head of the ONJ, EUROPA constitutes a leitmotiv he describes as a sort of “nomad work in progress”, with portraits of European cities either familiar to us or which arouse the desire to explore.
Their singularity – each city’s architectural, historical and artistic particularities constitute awesomely inspiring “material – has moved Olivier Benoit and his ONJ to transform the four stages of this captivating journey into tributes to Paris, Berlin, Rome and Oslo.
EUROPA, through its creations penned by Olivier Benoit or entrusted to associate artists, would gradually reveal a subjective, kaleidoscopic view of the contemporary musical landscape in Europe.
As a genuine laboratory for exchange and creation in Europ, the Jazzz Fabric will be inaugurated at the Carreau du Temple in spring 2014. This unique project joused in an exceptional venue in the heart of Paris responds to a neworientation in the mission-statement of the ONJ institution, which desires to develop Jazz Fabric as a nursery for artsistic projects that serve newly-created music.
Articulated around three facets — creation, diffusion, cultural action — Jazz Fabric is a tool shared essentialy by the ONJ and the artists associated with its various programmes, abut also open to the emerging formations and creations of the Orchestra’s musicians and its European guests with the ambition of creating multidisciplinarity get-together.
Through a series of regular rendezvous, the ONJ, its musicians and numerous like-minded artists will be unveiling to the Parisian public a musical and artistic family-tree that is unique.
This original, evolutional partnership with the Carreau du Temple will come into being on April 26th with carte blanche given to the Orchestra for the inauguration of the venue: and its heartbeat will be felt for the rest of the year in the rhythms of a new Congo Square in the heart of Paris, the City of (all kinds of) Jazz.
Ever since its inception, the AJON [“Association pour le Jazz en Orchestre National”] has played a role in producing the albums recorded by the Orchestre National de Jazz/ONJ.
From 1986 to the present, the Association has given support to the recording, mixing, mastering and artwork involved in the conception of twenty-three albums by the ONJ, each of which provides genuine testimony to the different orchestras which have nourished and punctuated the history of this unique institution. During this time, the ONJ’s releases have been distributed in conjunction with various renowned labels (Label Bleu, Verve, Evidence, ECM, Le Chant du Monde, Bee Jazz and JazzVillage).
In 2011, for the 25th Anniversary of the ONJ, the Association reinforced its mission as a producer by undertaking an ambitious reissue project, essentially digital, to make available every album recorded by the Orchestra: the project was christened “ONJ Stories”. The reissue project involved major editorial work and re-mastering the individual recordings in a desire to bring the latter resolutely up to date. So far, nine volumes have become available.
Relying on its wide experience in record-production in the aim of playing an even stronger role in the evolution of its missions serving creative jazz, the Association has today founded ONJ Records.
This new “In-house” label begins its first year of existence by accompanying the launch of the new ONJ led by Olivier Benoit. Closely partnered by L’Autre Distribution — whose savoir-faire and support in developing numerous artists of diverse horizons, and whose evolution over some twenty years has made it a major player in the recording-industry — the new label ONJ Records will independently represent a catalogue consisting of the Jazz Fabric’s productions, those of the Orchestra itself of course, and also releases by new groups composed of musicians from the ONJ. In this way, ONJ Records will give various artistic formats and personalities the opportunity to continue to flourish.