Louis Sclavis

Louis Sclavis

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Characters on a Wall
Louis Sclavis - clarinets
Benjamin Moussay - piano
Sarah Murcia - double bass
Christophe Lavergne - drums

This 13th ECM leader date from Louis Sclavis takes its inspiration from pioneering urban artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest, with whom the reed virtuoso and composer has been friends since the early 1980s. Although similar in theory to Napoli's Walls, the album could hardly be more different in practice. And while Sclavis isn't usually one to compose with images in mind, for this project he did just that, referencing paintings on walls from as close to home as Paris to as far away from it as Palestine.
Despite having played with Moussay for a decade and with Lavergne some years back, he first convened this particular quartet in the context of another project called "Loin dans les Terres" (Far Inland) in 2017. The present effort strikes me, for lack of a better word, as one of Sclavis's "jazziest" to date, although Moussay gives it his own classical touch. Much of it feels balladic, elegiac, and nocturnal. As Sclavis tells me by email, "When I compose I don't think 'jazz,' but try to find the best way to express my inspiration, so sometimes the world of classical music feels appropriate".

• video •

EPK Louis Sclavis - Characters on a wall

• biography •

Now a reference when it comes to improvised music, sometimes associated to moving images (Dans la nuit, with a Charles Vanel's silent movie from 1929), Louis Sclavis associates in 2005 with younger musicians in a band which he calls, with his usual poetic bent, "L'imparfait des langues". He takes it further with the album "Lost on the Way" (2008), inspired by the Odyssey, that let his partners' poprock culture be heard.
Always pushed to new associations, he starts in 2009 the Eldorado Trio with Craig Taborn and Tom Rayney then the Atlas Trio with guitarist Gilles Coronado and pianist Benjamin Moussay, a different type of instrumental mix forcing him to rethink his composing ways. More than the regular reunions with Romano and Texier (joined on a recording by three guests, Enrico Rava, Nguyeên Leê and Bojan Z in 2011), he concentrates on that band, touring and recording a second album "Silk and Salt Melodies" (2014).
"Characters on a wall" is the very last project of Louis Sclavis, paying tribute of Ernest pignon ernest's work.

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