Why this title French Keys ?
French is referring to a way of expressing the music which, in my opinion, has something to do with french soul : giving priority to clarity rather than to pathos and also a capacity of being open to other musical worlds without losing its own specificity. “Keys” to say the music is written for two Keyboards ( piano and vibraphone).
Why the choice of this duo ?
Musical cohesion is easier to btain with a duo and in a result of a long collaboration with the percussionnist Thierry Bonneaux. I deeply believe in taking time and letting the music mature.
What offers this Cd ?
A bunch of original compositions, conceived like instrumental songs. Many of them are short and built around a melodic idea. Mostly duets for piano and vibraphone including some improvised parts. But one can also find solo pieces for piano, for vibraphone or for drums.
What is your approach of the composition ?
I come from the jazz world where spontaneity is essential in the first steps but my writing is more precise, closer to chamber music than to a regular jazz writing. Nevertheless the improvisation is sometimes used to give some more life to the music, and if the roots of my musical language come from the jazz, I’m using rhythms and scales that go far beyond the regular jazz practice.
Apart from the composition, you are also a pianist
I started very young as a professionnal pianist, which means being able to play any kind of music.
I gradually opened myself to jazz, brazilian, cuban or african music. I also had a long collaboration with indian percussionnist Trilok Gurtu.
But my itinerary as a composer is distinct from all these experiences. It began 35 years ago, when I understood that real creation would require a complete integrity from myself, which meant to be able to keep some distance with the professional world of music.
Which kind of audience for this music ? Is the music simple or difficult ?
The answer is quite simple ! For people who like to listen and to discover other musics than commercial stereotypes.
Our goal is to make the music clear and readable. Which means a lot of works for us and, for the composer, supposing to know how to use the eraser;
Where do your ideas come from ?
Somewhere beyond the mind
Best ideas pop up like surprise to the composer. Otherwise, another way to bring up new ideas is to question his own musical language, in order to help him to think outside the box.
You also wrote educational books
In some circumstances, musical topics are to be explained. 40 years ago, it was the harmony in jazz, and today, explaining how to practice in the field of rhythm is often useful. I wrote many books on this subject.
More recently I wrote a book about composition to highlight the main questions related to composition.
You play both jazz and classical music ?
I started as a classical percussionnist. Then I came to jazz and played a lot of drums and vibraphone. I keep on playing with a symphonic orchestra. But I’m specially interested in associating these two worlds. That’s why I find a great interest in the music of Daniel Goyone.
For this project you are playing specific instruments ?
My vibraphone and my drums were especially built for playing this music by Bergerault France, as well as my sticks, conceived by Resta-Jay Percussions.
You also believe in the pedagogic interest of this music
Furthermore, I’m also teaching music, and I often could see that this music is also very interesting in terms of pedagogy, because it asks specific qualities to the performer : accuracy of the interpretation as well as rhythmic safety, groove, improvisation.