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New Jazz: four artists – accompanied by the BNP Paribas Foundation – present their latest recordings

  • 02.11.2009

One of the few patrons of the arts to support Jazz musicians, the BNP Paribas Foundation has been following their progress for more than 15 years. Helping with recordings, and supporting promotion, especially on tour, are all ways of assisting them in developing their projects. Besides offering this support, the BNP Paribas Foundation strives to help these artists to reach a wider audience.

In October, four Jazz artists currently supported by the Foundation will present their new albums:

Elisabeth Kontomanou: Siren Song (Plus Loin Music)

Elisabeth Kontomanou has sung in Paris and New York, as well as in Sweden. Acclaimed by the critics for her two latest recordings, she was awarded the "Vocal Jazz Award" of the Victoires du Jazz in 2006. Since then, prefering an intimate style to an extrovert one, and depth to superficial effects, she has performed widely in the most prestigious venues. Her recording Back to My Groove, followed by Brewin' the Wind, coincided with the start of her relationship with the BNP Paribas Foundation.

With her latest album, Siren Song, recorded with the Lorraine National Orchestra, Elisabeth Kontomanou once again immerses herself in the great standard numbers that made jazz famous.

Accompanied by three orchestrators – Tom Harrel, Gustav Karlström, and Ann-Sofi Söderqvist – she has combined this celebrated repertoire with recent compositions of her own, such as Summer and Siren Song, as well as a duet composed by, and sung with, her son Gustav Karlström. On sale from 27 October.


Murat Oztürk: Crossing my bridge (Laborie/ Naïve)

The young pianist Murat Oztürk came into contact with several musical genres before committing himself to jazz at the age of 18. After trying to fathom the language of fabulous pianists such as Bill Evans, and having understood that jazz demands unrelenting effort, he plunged enthusiastically into this music he had chosen.

Valued for his gifts as a composer and performer, he accompanied other musicians before forming his first trio with the bassist Jacques Vidal and the drummer Jean-Marc Robin, with whom he recorded Söyle, his first CD, supported by the BNP Paribas Foundation. His second, Candies, on the Hemiola label and recorded with Dré Pallemaerts and Gautier Laurent confirmed Murat's talents as a melodist.

With his third album, Crossing My Bridge, Murat Oztürk gave voice to his new compositions with sensitivity and feeling, in the company of Gautier Laurent on bass, Olivier Strauch on drums, and Jean Pascal Boffo on guitar. On sale since 13 October 2009.


Stéphane Guillaume: Windmills Chronicles (Gemini Records/distrib. Sphinx)

Winner of the first saxophone prize at the Paris Conservatoire, multi-instrumentalist (clarinet, flute), and much in demand as a sideman, Stéphane Guillaume is also a brilliant composer who, for some years now, has developed his projects around his own quartet – guitar, bass, drums, and saxophone.

Two existing albums, widely acclaimed by critics, bear witness to this work: Soul Role, and Intra-Muros. Recently, Stéphane Guillaume has combined this quartet with a seven-piece brass band: two trumpets/bugles, two horns, two trombones, and a tuba. Granted a residence at the Lyon opera in February 2008, this combo has just recorded original music written entirely by Stéphane Guillaume.

The album Windmills Chronicles is an important landmark, and is a prelude to a series of concerts during the coming season. On sale from 26 October.


Emmanuel Bex: Open Gate (Plus Loin Music/Harmonia Mundi)

Since graduating from the Paris conservatoire, Emmanuel Bex has won numerous prizes: the 1988 Sacem prize for composition, the Django d'Or musician of the year prize 2003, and the Victoire du Jazz in 2002. An inspired performer, Emmanuel Bex is rare among jazz musicians in having managed to give the organ, his favoured instrument, a place in the spotlight. He is also a pianist, a composer, and a respected arranger. Endowed with insatiable curiosity, he has tirelessly sought new musical forms, and does not hesitate to mix different styles and genres, while also being keen to seek out new audiences. A case in point is the project Esperanto Cantabile, a concerto for Hammond organ and symphony orchestra, composed in France in 2007. Another is Third String, a trio for piano, violin, and cello.

With his new work, Open Gate, Emmanuel Bex has brought together – to play 12 of his own compositions – two musicians who made a deep impression on his development: the saxophonist Francesco Bearzatti (discovered in France alongside Aldo Romano) and the drummer Simon Goubert – who is also supported by the BNP Paribas foundation and has played with Emmanuel Bex for many years.

Hailed by the critics and rewarded with a “Choc“ by Jazzmag, this album brings together “three of the most impressive virtuosi on their instrument, each as dazzling as the next, and at the height of their musical maturity“ (Télérama). On sale since September.


Sophia Domancich – Jean-Jacques Avenel – Simon Goubert: Free 4 DAG (Cristal Records)

Following their first album, which appeared in 2005, DAG – Domancich, Avenel, and Goubert – present Free 4 DAG. Formed in 2004, the DAG trio – an acronym of Domancich, Avenel, and Goubert – has ploughed a furrow and sowed seeds whose fruits can justly be described as ever more marvellous, as those who attended a memorable concert at the Festival de Radio-France in Montpellier in 2008 will testify.

The tightly-knit nature of the musical narrative of these musicians, regardless of the risks they take, as well as the repertoire they choose (compositions by the trio's three members), take us into a musical world where all of us can find, if only for an instant, the reflection of our own sense of freedom.

As well as being, without doubt, the most powerful symbol that springs to mind when we think of the word “jazz”, freedom is also a value that DAG's three members have fought for over many years. One new feature of this recording is the appearance of another top musician, the saxophonist Dave Liebman, who plays on half the album. On sale since 8 October.

Sophia Domancich and Simon Goubert are both supported by the BNP Paribas Foundation.