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#JazzPortraits: Thomas de Pourquery, the unclassifiable jazzman with the most unexpected inspirations

  • 07.01.2020

From Clara Luciani to Metronomy, Oxmo Puccino and Sun Ra, Thomas de Pourquery explores every genre and defies any attempt of categorisation. The BNP Paribas Foundation has been supporting this talented jazz musician since 2019 and he has many surprises in store.

An astonishing musical world

Thomas de Pourquery was 14 when he swapped his rugby ball for an alto saxophone. He is a graduate of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, and his bold, magnetic, contagious music breaks new ground in jazz

As a musician, singer, composer and actor, he has more than one string in his bow. Jazz Magazine named him “Revelation of the Year” in 2012 and Les Victoires du Jazz “Artist of the Year” in 2017. Finally, Play Sun Ra, the album he recorded with his group Supersonic, won the Victoires du Jazz “Best Jazz Album of the Year” award in 2014.

At first my music will frighten people because it represents happiness and they’re not used to that”. Sun Ra

His broad artistic skillset has earned him invitations to sing, play and record with The Shoes, Fred Pallem, François & The Atlas Mountains, Sarah Murcia, BABX, Oxmo Puccino, Mick Jones, or even the English pop group Metronomy. He has also acted in films and composed the original soundtrack for Fidelio, Alice’s Odyssey and The Bride.

At first my music will frighten people because it represents happiness and they’re not used to that.

Music inspired by dreams

Thomas de Pourquery is a great jazz musician, a softhearted music-lover inspired by dreams. In both his life and his music, he goes where his intuition and encounters lead him, doing whatever comes naturally. That is undoubtedly, where his music’s deeply human and contagious nature comes from. Luck or coincidence, Thomas was born on 7/7/77. The Seventies is also the musical decade, which inspired him and his band Supersonic for Play Sun Ra. This album explores the music of the mystical, mysterious, galactic musician Sun Ra. The idea for the album, a real time machine, came to him in a dream.

Music is the only known spaceship, or in any case, the only time machine.  It’s amazing. It’s a reality and it’s before our eyes because music cuts up time.”  Thomas de Pourquery

Jazz brings people together 

This winter, Thomas de Pourquery will be in New York for the French Quarter, a series of concerts organised by the Paris Jazz Club as part of the Winter Jazz Festival, which will take place from the 8th of January to the 10th of January 2020. On 14 January, he and Supersonic will play their album Sons of Love at Joe’s Pub. But he is just one of the French jazz artists invited to perform across the Atlantic. 

For instance, Anne Paceo who was named “Artist of the Year” at the 2019 Victoires du Jazz will also be at the legendary clubs The Bitter End and Smalls on 11 and 13 of January 2020. Moreover, Anne Paceo is currently the artist in residence at the Jazz sous les Pommiers Festival, she has been supported by the BNP Paribas Foundation since 2015. After New York, she, Thomas de Pourquery and their friend Airelle Besson will perform an unprecedented concert in Coutances on February 14th. 

Supported by the BNP Paribas Foundation since 2019, Thomas de Pourquery is working on new musical projects where he will sing or play saxophone with his band Supersonic, with percussionists and contemporary and Congolese dancers, with the overall goal of sharing the peace and universality values of jazz. 

Thomas de Pourquery

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Photo Credit ©Flavien Prioreau

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