Born May 6th 1969 in Valenciennes, France
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. Rock, (for its sound and energy), jazz (for its collective interaction, and the beauty of music as an act), contemporary (for its concerns with form and the precision and sophistication of its language), and non-idiomatic free improvisation (for its horizontal organizational modes, and its fundamentally immanent condition), are musical territories whose attributes have real exchanges in generating forms of expression typified by authentic syncretism and innovation.
After taking up the oboe in childhood, Olivier Benoit was 18 when he decided to seriously devote himself to music, and he turned to the classical guitar and contrabass. Whilst a student in musicology at Lille University (and taking jazz and composition classes at the Conservatoire), he met Jean-François Canape, Gérard Marais, Fred Van Hove and Annick Nozati, all of whom were decisive in opening the doors of improvised music to him. In 1992 he formed his first quartet as a leader, Happy House, (notably in the company of double bass-player Nicolas Mahieux) to play music that was firmly anchored in the jazz idiom while having a strong rock colouring.
Settling in Paris in 1995 gave new impulse to Olivier Benoit’s career. He kept company with other young members of the experimental scene, gravitating around the Instants Chavirés from Montreuil (Guillaume Orti, Bertrand Denzler, Thierry Madiot, Pascal Battus…); he also met up with Claude Tchamitchian and Philippe Deschepper, and then joined the Sextet and Quartet led by Christophe Marguet, which included Michel Massot (tuba), Daunik Lazro (saxophones) and Bruno Chevillon (double bass). In 1998 Olivier created his first guitar solo, which was essentially based on the material and spatial natures of sound; after a lengthy maturing process, that artistic gesture defined and oriented his playing resolutely in the direction of improvised music. He followed on from this by working in duo(s) — with pianist Sophie Agnel and saxophonist Jean-Luc Guionnet —, and both pairings strengthened his commitment to improvisation. Paolo Damiani contacted him in 2001 to join his own ONJ, and Olivier consequently played with jazz musicians in the new generation (Régis Huby, Jean-Marc Larché, Paul Rogers…) while multiplying other collaborations in all directions, working with Jacques Mahieux, Edward Perraud and Joëlle Léandre among others.
In parallel with his activities in Paris, Olivier Benoit continued his involvement with the music scene in Lille, actively participating in the creation of the Circum collective and also CRIME, [“Regional Improvisation and Experimental Music Centre”]; ten years later, those two associations would merge and give birth to the Muzzix collective. For more than 15 years Olivier Benoit would remain one of the most active members of this alternative scene, notably demonstrating his singular talents as a writer and conductor with two large formations, Circum Grand Orchestra and La Pieuvre (which he would finally combine in 2007 with the foundation of Feldspath, a vast ensemble of thirty-two musicians.)
Furthering his taste for inter- and multi-disciplinary projects, Olivier Benoit also worked during this period with the Ars Nova ensemble led by Philippe Nahon on the creation of a contemporary opera, and actively collaborated with choreographers David Flahaut and Karole Armitage, dancer and trapeze-artist Clémence Coconnier, and with stage-director Thierry Roisin, composing for the musical play La Vie dans les plis premiered in 2011.
Feldspath, La Pieuvre & Circum Grand Orchestra
Serendipity, Olivier Benoit
Peaux d’Âmes, Jacques Mahieux “Family Life” Quartet
Inoxydable, Happy House
Ellipse, La Pieuvre
Ecarlate, Christophe Marguet
Le Chant du Monde, 2007
Rip-stop, Sophie Agnel & Olivier Benoit
In Situ, 2003
Reflections, Christophe Marguet Sextet
Label Bleu, 2003
&UN, Olivier Benoit & Jean-Luc Guionnet
Born March 28th 1990 in Mont-de-Marsan, France
A recent graduate of the 2013 jazz class at the CNSM in Paris, Jean Dousteyssier is the youngest member of this new ONJ. He first trained as a clarinettist and was introduced to jazz in Mont-de-Marsan alongside Jacky Bérécochéa, later joining the famous jazz class at the Marciac school where he helped form the Lafé Bémé quintet, which performed at the prestigious festivals in Vienne and Marciac. After exploring the multiple folk traditions of his instrument in the course of a long stay in the Balkans, Jean Dousteyssier turned to the tenor saxophone only recently, taking up chairs with ensembles like the Umlaut Big Band, whose specialised repertoire covers little-known pieces of the Twenties and Thirties, or the European Jazz Orchestra.
In his dedication to multiplying the approaches of his instruments and diversifying compositional practice in this respect, he has no time for cliques and other such old notions. Moving without scruples from the ONCEIM [“National Orchestra for Creation Experimentation and Musical Improvisation”] imagined by Frédéric Blondy, to the sextet The Coquette’s (whose “John Kirby Sextet Revival” project aims to rediscover the repertoire of the flagship group led by American bass-player Kirby), Jean Dousteyssier has also formed Post K a quartet with his brother Benjamin Dousteyssier, pianist Matthieu Naulleau and drummer Elie Duris committed to off-beat re-readings of New Orleans music in the years 1920-1930, not to mention his dive into the vibrant heart of sound with the clarinet quartet Watt, together with Antonin-Tri Hoang, Julien Pontvianne and Jean-Brice Godet… Jean Dousteyssier is a musician in the image of this new generation: curious, erudite, virtuoso, and definitively trans-genre.
Jean Dousteyssier POST K
ONJ Records, 2016
77’06 – Watt
Becoq Records, 2015
Watt – Watt
pAn-G – pAn-G
Born July 3rd 1971 in Charleville-Mézières, France
A former pupil of Paris Opera soloist Pierre Gillet, but also the inspired disciple of the great, atypical improviser Jean-François Canape, Fabrice Martinez has the rare talent of being able to combine faultless technique (it allows him to fit into any context) with a controlled power of expression that goes hand in hand with his authentic feel for improvisation.
The result is that Fabrice Martinez — after first “paying his dues” in pop, world music and song (with Sergent Garcia, Alpha Blondy, Tony Allen, Oxmo Puccino etc.) and then his role in the creation of Fred Pallem’s “Sacre du Tympan” at the turn of the last decade — has quietly established himself as one of the most discreet and unavoidable figures on the contemporary jazz scene, regardless of style. Fabrice Martinez has occupied chairs with the Archimusic ensemble of Jean-Rémy Guédon, the Grand Lousadzak led by Claude Tchamitchian, the Supersonic group of Thomas de Pourquery, not to mention Andy Emler’s MegaOctet. An elegant stylist, he has turned the plasticity of his astonishing playing into a speciality, a feature which has allowed him to extend his palette into every register.
The recent appearance of his third album as a leader with his band Chut! (Rebirth, 2016) revealed yet another facet of his gifts; leading a quartet with the line-up of Fred Escoffier (keyboards), Eric Echampard (drums) and Bruno Chevillon (bass), Fabrice Martinez combines a full, brassy sound with cursory, lyrical phrasing that is always in motion; as for his personal compositions, they continue to reveal a vast variety of moods expressed in a truly original voice.
Rebirth – Fabrice Martinez Chut !
ONJ Records, 2016
Play Sun Ra – Thomas de Pourquery “Supersonic”
Quark Records, 2014
AJMiLive #5 Chut ! fait du bruit – Fabrice Martinez Chut !
Label AJMiLive, 2014
Chut !, Fabrice Martinez
Sans Bruit, 2013
Le Rêve de Nietzsche – Archimusic & Jimmy Justine
Label Triton, 2013
Présences d’Esprits – MegaOctet / Archimusic & Elise Caron
Signature Radio France, 2013
Soundtrax – Le Sacre du Tympan
2011, Music Unit
Born August 6th 1982 in Albi, France.
Fidel Fourneyron joined the Jazz and Improvised Music Department of the CNSM in Paris in 2005 and graduated in June 2010. An unarguable virtuoso of both his instruments, he has collaborated with many musicians since his graduation, notably becoming one of the stalwarts of the very dynamic young Parisian collective Coax while at the same time participating in: the Radiation 10 group (alongside Hugues Mayot), a hybrid mini-big-band exploring the fertile border zones between modern jazz, rock, and contemporary and improvised music; the Jukebox quintet, revisiting a popular-song repertoire through the prism of bold sound-experimentation; and also the Franco-British septet Tweedle-Dee, whose demanding and expressionistic music celebrates the encounter between Coax and the London-based collective known as Loop.
Fidel Fourneyron is attracted equally by improvised music (he belongs to ONCEIM, the “National Orchestra for Creation, Experimentation and Musical Improvisation”) and the contemporary scene (cf. his research with the Umlaut collective and the Hodos ensemble playing the music of Philip Corner). A great lover of swing-bands, he is also first trombone and soloist with the Laurent Mignard Duke Orchestra, and a member of the Umlaut Big Band specializing in Twenties’ and Thirties’ dance-music. He is found also in the Eve Risser’s White Desert Orchestra and Tribute to Lucienne Boyer by Tricollectif.
Noticed by some of the greatest names in contemporary jazz, among them Marc Ducret (he has played with Ducret’s sextet Real Thing #3), the trombonist has also been a sideman over the past few years with Tim Berne, Dominique Pifarély, Claude Barthélemy, Daniel Yvinec, Vincent Artaud or again Magik Malik or with the french quintet Papanosh for a tribute to Charles Mingus.
In parallel, Fidel Fourneyron has revisited with his trio Un Poco Loco (Sébastien Beliah on bass and Geoffrey Gesser on saxophones) 1950s jazz standards. The group released its first album on Umlaut Records in November 2014 and is selected for the French program Jazz Migration 2015-2016. The trombonist also performs solo, a work recorded on “High Fidelity” released in fall 2015.
Fidel Fourneyron is regularly invited to perform as soloist (European Youth Jazz Orchestra, MGH Orkestar) or for master class (Conservatories of Poitiers, Tarbes, Blois, Angoulême, Tribu Festival in Dijon …); and he leads since September 2014 the Carreau du Temple’s brass band in Paris, a local amateur orchestra of 40 musicians for which he wrote an original repertoire.
High Fidelity – Fidel Fourneyron
Umlaut Records, 2015
Un Poco Loco – Un Poco Loco
Umlaut Records, 2014
Tower, vol. 3 – Marc Ducret
Ayler Records, 2013
Tweedle-Dee – Tweedle-Dee
Coax Records, 2013
Bossa SuperNova – Radiation 10
Coax Records, 2013
Nelson’s Jacket – Umlaut Big Band
Umlaut Records, 2013
Radiation 10 – Radiation 10
Coax Records, 2011
Born May 5th 1986 in Pithiviers, France
Unfolding a music-language filled with subtle nuances while constantly seeking to reconcile fire, lyricism and sophisticated form, Théo Ceccaldi is definitely one of the great revelations of the contemporary jazz scene in France.
Théo Ceccaldi seriously started studying classical music at a tender age and received First Prize for Violin, Notation and Chamber Music in 2004. But he was always drawn to the freedom of jazz, and in 2010 he genuinely found his own voice when he founded an original trio — with his brother Valentin on cello and Guillaume Aknine on guitar — which established the link between the western chamber-music tradition and free improvisation. The Théo Ceccaldi Trio won the Tremplin Orléans’ Jazz in 2011, and they have since confirmed what everyone thought was good about them, releasing two albums in succession for the Ayler Records label and then taking the laurels of the 2014 “Jazz Migration” programme organized by AJC. The same year, he founds Petite moutarde a singular project inspired by filmmaker René Clair’s works Entr’acte with Alexandra Grimal (saxophones), Ivan Gélugne (double bass) and Florian Satche (drums).
A founding member of the young collective from Orleans known as Tricollectif, violinist Théo Ceccaldi has been active in a series of formations including the Toons group led by his brother Valentin, the chamber quartet La Scala and Loving Suite pour Birdy So led by pianist Roberto Negro (with Elise Caron), In Love With led by the drummer Sylvain Darrifourcq with Velentin Ceccaldi, and the Grand Orchestre du Tricot. Recognized by his peers, he recently joined the IXI string-quartet co-led by Régis Huby and Guillaume Roy, which enjoys a reputation for improvised music, Médéric Collignon’s project “A la recherche du roi frippé”, which revisits the music of Robert Fripp/King Crimson, and also the Franco-German octet T.E.E. Ensemble of pianist Hans Lüdemann, which also features Alexandra Grimal.
Particularly drawn by all transversal art forms, the young violinist has also ventured into theatre and dance, notably in collaborations with the “Compagnie Les Veilleurs” (based on the text Contre les Bêtes by Jacques Rebotier), and choreographer Josef Nadj.
Théo Ceccaldi Petite Moutarde
ONJ Records, 2015
Can You Hear Me? – Joëlle Léandre 10
Ayler Records, 2015
Babies – Théo Ceccaldi / Roberto Negro
Live au Triton, 2015
La Scala – La Scala
Ayler Records, 2014
Loving Suite pour Birdy So – Roberto Negro
Can You Smile? – Théo Ceccaldi Trio + Joëlle Léandre
Ayler Records, 2013
7 Nains – Toons
Carrousel – Théo Ceccaldi Trio
Ayler Records, 2012
Born July 12th 1964 in Paris, France
With solid training as a classical musician, Sophie Angel took a close interest in modern jazz before committing in the early Nineties to the shifting, deliciously uncertain ground of free improvisation, thanks to her fascination for the powers of expression displayed by a few great keyboard-heretics such as Keith Tippett, Fred Van Hove or Christine Wodrascka.
Taking a look through the prism of improvised music, Sophie Agnel began reworking the prepared piano techniques imagined by John Cage in the field of contemporary music, and from that point she would busy herself “introducing the prosaicism of the contemporary world into the belly of western musical refinement itself”, and transform her instrument into a sort of “extensive prep-piano” or “extended piano”, thereby laying the foundations of a radically materialist personal universe that is by turns lyrical, abstract and sensualist.
Moving from the demanding exercise of playing solo to multiple encounters with some of the greatest masters of contemporary improvisation in their original surroundings — Michel Doneda, Daunik Lazro, Olivier Benoit, Catherine Jauniaux, Eric M, Roger Turner, Phil Minton — the pianist would also gradually venture into those border-zones where genres fade into the distance… Sophie Agnel has also produced a few of her own shows for general audiences such as: Le Piano-Marteau, which staged the sound-space in a subtle game of mirrors; a collaboration with choreographer Josef Nadj (Etc. etc.); and also the music she composed for the stage-adaptation of Charles Reznikov’s Testimony directed by Henri Jules Julien.
Sophie Agnel’s interest in concrete and electro-acoustic music and phenomena in the spatial quality of sounds has recently led her, together with instrument-maker Laurent Paquier and the Tarn-based GMEA [“Albi Electro-Acoustic Music Group”], to conceive the experimental electro-acoustic instrument known as the “nOpianO/cordophone” which opens new sound-horizons even further.
Meteo – Sophie Agnel / John Edwards / Steve Noble
Clean Feed Records, 2013
Spiral Inputs – Sophie Agnel / Bertrand Gauguet / Andrea Neumann
Another Timbre, 2010
Capsizing Moments – Sophie Agnel
Rip-sto – Sophie Agnel / Olivier Benoit
In Situ, 2003
Rouge Gris Bruit
Sophie Agnel – Lionel Marchetti – Jérôme Noetinger
Born November 26, 1979 in Angers
By the time he was seven, Sylvain Daniel was studying the French horn at the CNR in Nantes, and later he would no doubt have found himself sitting with the horns in some provincial symphony orchestra… if he hadn’t discovered the spellbinding sounds of an electric bass while he was a teenager, thanks to the poly-metrical virtuosity of Reggie Washington in Steve Coleman’s groups, or that of Michel Hatzigeorgiou with Aka Moon. It was his fascination for groove, that minimalist art of precision which consists in placing the right note in the right place and at the right moment, that gave Sylvain Daniel the feeling his tastes were driving him irresistibly towards horizons other than those, already traced, of classical music. When Julien Lourau took him on tour with his orchestra after the release of the album “Gambit” — alongside Magic Malik and Jeff Sharel — it didn’t take Daniel long to realise that he’d branched out into popular music for good.
Snatched up by hip-hop (The Roots, D’Angelo, Bilal), the bassist pared his playing down to the bone; he also became a regular figure on the alternative scene with artists’ squat Les Falaises (Maxime Delpierre, Laurent Bardaine and Thomas de Pourquery). Out of that effervescence would come the group Soulereactive (2002) — “a kind of raucous, psycho white-blues that was hyper contemporary, pulsating with hip hop grooves mixed in with free,” is the way he explains it… And it was his first major experience with a collective.
From then on, Sylvain would divide his time between projects that were ambitious and/or atypical: Elise Caron, Electric Mop, Sarah Murcia, Piers Faccini, or again the DPZ group of Thomas de Pourquery and Daniel Zimmerman, put his “orchestral conception of the instrument” to contribution; he was also involved with more directly accessible forms of pop music (Kent, Olivia Ruiz), for which it was more a matter of “creating a bass line and staying with it.” And that was when Sylvain Daniel came to the attention of Daniel Yvinec, who recruited him to join his ONJ from 2009 to 2013.
In parallel, Sylvain has continued to diversify. He collaborated, played and recorded with Ornette and Yom & The Wonder Rabbis; he was part of the electro group Bot’Ox (Cosmo Vitelli); with guitarist Julien Raulet, he produced and mixed the first album by the Afrorockers band, Afrorockerz, which was released in 2014; with saxophonist Alexandra Grimal – trio kankū.
In 2015 he replaces Bruno Chevillon in the ONJ led by Olivier Benoit (January 2014 – June 2018 Mandate). In 2016 Sylvain Daniel has presented his new project Palimpseste, a raod trip imagined from photographs of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre “Ruins of Detroit”.
The Afrorockerz, – The Afrorockerz
He’s looking at you kid – DPZ
e-motive , 2009
Gambit – Julien Lourau
Born December 18th 1976 in Poitiers, France
Initiated into music at an early age by his father, who injected him with a passion for the great masters of “stride” piano, Paul Brousseau, a genuinely self-taught musician, quickly abandoned the academic teachings of conservatories to privilege roads cutting across other paths.
Paul Brousseau was quickly caught up in the energy of rock (from Jimi Hendrix to Pink Floyd), and formed his first groups while still a teenager, rapidly broadening his sound-universe by turning towards drums and guitar. When he was sixteen, he discovered Claude Barthélemy’s Jaune et encore, which decided his aesthetic orientations: jazz and improvised music.
Following the master-classes dispensed by the Syrinx workshops (Ramon Lopez, Richie Beirach, Claude Tchamitchian…), he met Matthieu Metzger in Olivier Batlle’s In Out group and then went to the Conservatoire in Poitiers with Metzger to complete his apprenticeship. Following a residency with Marc Ducret, he answered the guitarist’s appeal for candidates to join the Ducret big-band Le Sens de la Marche, becoming a member in 2003.
Multiplying his collaborations (with Ramon Lopez, Simon Spang-Hanssen, and especially Louis Sclavis, (who made him the keyboardist with his new quintet L’imparfait des Langues and Big Napoli’s Walls), Paul Brousseau next set up a Franco-Danish group with Ducret, Stefan Pasborg and Liudas Mockunas (Megaphone), and in 2007 he recorded the first album by his group Kolkhöze Printanium with Maxime Delpierre, Hugues Mayot, Philippe Gleizes and Jean-Philippe Morel, an album in which he masterfully expressed his singular musical universe at the confines of improv, electronic music and experimental rock.
After committing to the Megadog from Berlin(e) project (with Metzger and Philippe ‘Pipon’ Garcia), today Paul Brousseau divides most of his time between activities with diverse collaborations (Jean-Marc Padovani, the quintet Motian in Motion) and his own resolutely trans-genre ensembles: So Purple, with Médéric Collignon and Charlie Davot, Leaving Lusitania with Samuel Choisy, Tumblephase with Romain Bercé, and Source with Matthieu Metzger.
Le Sens de la Marche – Marc Ducret
Kolkhöznitsa – Kolkhöze Printanium
D’Autres Cordes, 2008
L’Imparfait des Langues – Louis Sclavis
La Moitié du Monde – Louis Sclavis
Triple Point – Stefan Pasborg
Ilk Music, 2007
Voices Project, – Paul Brousseau
Born December 24th 1970 in Bourg-en-Bresse, France
A peerless technician with a rich classical schooling — he won the First Prize for Classical and Contemporary Percussion in 1995 at the CNSM in Lyon — Eric Echampard is an instinctive musician fundamentally open to all forms of today’s popular and experimental music, from modern jazz in all its rock aspects to the infinite layers inherent in improvised music. Over the last fifteen years he has also been one of the rare, atypical figures to have profoundly changed the art of drumming in contemporary European jazz.
In 1992 Eric Echampard was simultaneously noticed by Bernard Struber — he joined his ORJA group and remains a member of his Jazztet, the group’s new incarnation — and by Jacques Di Donato, who in 1993 offered him the drum-chair in his quintet and its big-band configuration Système Friche. He quickly became a choice accompanist for some of the most innovative musicians on the French scene, playing with François Corneloup’s trio, the trio led by Marc Ducret (with Bruno Chevillon), the group Grand Lousadzak led by Claude Tchamitchian, and also Andy Emler’s MegaOctet.
Solicited over the years by almost every “historic” musician on the European scene — Michel Portal, Louis Sclavis, Raymond Boni, François Jeanneau — Eric Echampard has developed his long-standing relationships with Marc Ducret and Andy Emler (also playing in the latter’s trio with Claude Tchamitchian), begun new collaborations with the likes of Dave Liebman, Benjamin Moussay, Christophe Monniot or Fabrice Martinez, and opened up new horizons for himself with ventures into free improvisation in duo with Finnish accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen, or more hybrid projects at the confines of rock and contemporary music with the group Caravaggio alongside Bruno Chevillon, Benjamin de La Fuente and Samuel Sighicelli.
Métatonal – Marc Ducret Trio+3
Ayler Records, 2015
Sad and Beautiful – Emler – Tchamitchian – Echampard
La Buissonne, 2014
Caravaggio # 2 – Caravaggio
La Buissonne, 2012
Tee Time – Emler – Tchamitchian – Echampard
In Circum Girum, 2003
L’ombra di Verdi, Marc Ducret
Screwgun Records, 1999
Two Angels For Cecil, Raymond Boni & Eric Echampard
Jardins Ouvriers, François Corneloup Trio