#Jazz Portrait: The Volunteered Slaves, the meeting of jazz and funk

  • 18.03.2021

Jazz with funk accents, five musicians united for nearly 20 years, an overflowing energy, a mix of styles, cultures and generations… Welcome to the world of The Volunteered Slaves! Supported by the BNP Paribas Foundation since 2016, this French jazz group, bubbling with talent and ideas, is releasing its 5th album SpaceShipOne this year, an ode to space that blends jazz, funk, afro and electro. On this occasion, we draw the portrait of these gifted musicians who have overcome the frontiers of musical genres.

When jazz rhymes with freedom

"The ultimate burst of jazz, one of harmony with funk," Sylvain Siclier wrote in Le Monde about this group, which conveys a communicative, groovy energy from the first notes.
The Volunteered Slaves are five talented musicians: Emmanuel Duprey playing the piano, Akim Bournane the bass, Olivier Témime the saxophone, Emmanuel Bex the organ and Julien Charlet the drums. 
The group was born during the 2002 Marciac Jazz Festival. Their name, borrowed from the title of Roland Kirk’s album Volunteered Slavery, sets the tone. Their freedom-loving music mixes styles, cultures, generations, genres, etc. 

After years of concerts and improvisation breaking free of genres and boxes, the group released several albums, including Streetwise in 2005, Breakfast in Babylon in 2009 and The Day After in 2012, which André Manoukian called on France Inter “a healing album that combines high musical standards and a  highly groovy jazz content.” In 2017, The Volunteered Slaves added voices and released an ambitious album, Ripcord, a slick mix of afro, funk, jazz and seventies pop hit covers.

Jazz Portrait: The Volunteered Slaves - BNP Paribas Foundation

Celebrating almost 20 years of jazz

The Volunteered Slaves will soon celebrate 20 years of musical passion marked by hundreds of concerts, dozens of festivals and international tours as well as rowdy VSOPs (aka Volunteered Slaves Organic Parties) at the Duc des Lombards, a jazz club in Paris.
Their vibrant message comes across from the first notes. The music’s evocative power climaxes with rhythmic, high-octane titles.

 

Cosmic trip with SpaceShipOne

An ode to space with SpaceShipOne and Astronaef. In 2021, The Volunteered Slaves wrote and recorded their fifth album SpaceShipOne in between lockdowns: a conceptual album celebrating a cosmic journey, a scenario which emerged and set the album’s narrative.

With their new album, The Volunteered Slaves no longer aimed for the sky but for space. The music is still organic but charged with electro. The poetry is certainly there, between lyricism and trance. The free-spirited Volunteered Slaves make captivating music. Astronaef, their single released on 15 January, whisks us off on a contemplative, trippy spaceship ride

This spellbinding, groovy piece sounds like the pulsation of the soul. It takes us to a planet where music with multiple influences reigns. From the outset, The Volunteered Slaves have enjoyed high-altitude travel. Their new project, SpaceShipOne, takes them to an even higher level.” Source: France musique 

The Volunteered Slaves can’t wait to get back on stage. On 22 September, they will give a concert at the 360 Paris Music Factory to celebrate SpaceShipOne’s release.

Meanwhile, listen to their new single! 

The Volunteered Slaves - 

Astronaef

BNP Paribas Foundation & Jazz

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Photos The Volunteered Slaves © M. Assaf MATARASSO

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