For more than 20 years, the BNP Paribas Foundation has been backing jazz musicians and helping them jumpstart their careers through support for the recording, promotion and distribution of their music.
Why support jazz?
It all started in 1995, when the Paribas Foundation got behind the jazz pianist Manuel Rocheman. At that point, the Foundation was already looking to break out from its typical sponsor opportunities of the time. Since then, the BNP Paribas Foundation has continued to pursue its commitment, while also seeking to lend support to other lesser-known cultural art forms. This is why the Foundation has committed itself to backing a number of emerging artists over the past 20 years, partnering with BNP Paribas local branches during Jazz festivals around the world.
A history of jazz
Since its beginnings, jazz has specifically offered creative freedom and musical liberty... but also much more!
As the author Maxence Fermine put it, “Never forget this: To play jazz is to tell a story”. What story, one might ask?
NEVER FORGET THIS: TO PLAY JAZZ IS TO TELL A STORY.
Any story—of a musician, of a crowd, of freedom, generosity, or forced labour, of New Orleans, of all the music in the world...
Jazz music, a chance encounter
Born from the music of slaves, the genre became a patchwork of different styles including African American genres (blues, gospel and work songs) and European music. Multicultural by nature, jazz evokes universality and knows no borders. This is also reflected in the notes played, which seem to be improvised and not from a musical score. It is the meeting of frenzied polyrhythms and heightened perceptions.
The BNP Paribas foundation has many things in common with this musical school of thought: philanthropy, a shared history and a similar tone, so to speak. The Foundation is committed to promoting jazz beyond borders, to making it known and loved by all publics.
The BNP Paribas Foundation and jazz
“ Jazz is the freedom to have many forms ”
Jazz... the story of diversity
Through innovative tonality, jazz’s melting pot of musical styles drew inspiration from many acoustic influences around the world.
For BNP Paribas, supporting many artists of different nationalities is above all else a question of support and loyalty. Over the years, the Foundation has formed strong bonds with artists, helped them to thrive or supported their success.
Around the world, the Foundation is not only partner to a number of emblematic festivals such as North Sea Jazz in Holland or Paris’s Festival Jazz in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, but also to more “modest” festivals such as Jazz à l’Etage in Rennes and Saint-Malo or Abidjan Jazz by BICICI in Côte d’Ivoire.
“ Without a long-term vision, support is impossible. Dialogue is powerful and there remains much to discuss with artists regarding co-working and solidarity ”
Chief Executive of the BNP Paribas Foundation
Jazz... the story of democracy
Jazz speaks to everyone and involves everyone, regardless of ethnicity or musical tastes. This is why the Foundation has always been committed to making jazz available to all publics: At North Sea Jazz, the Foundation is the partner for a day entirely devoted to children and offers prices that are affordable for all, to develop children’s interest in jazz in a playful, creative way.
BNP Paribas Foundation’s aim is, first and foremost, to diversify its support for jazz music.
Jazz... the story of collaboration
It might seem that jazz notes flow melodically without needing a score, but jazz is above all the story of groups, co-creation and co-inspiration. Harmony between musicians is what makes it possible to run together improvised solos while also relying on the hard work and talents of every musician. The Foundation recognises each supported artist’s talent and works together with them over an extended period.
During a concert held in Paris to support Reporters Without Borders on 6 December 2016, the Foundation had the pleasure of welcoming the majority of artists supported during more than 20 years, brought together in a legendary “All Stars” session, further proof of this great exchange and loyalty.
Photo Header: Anne Paceo © Sylvain Gripoix