June 21, 2024


Website about Jazz and Blues

Interview with Alban Darche: I’m not trying to give people the emotion they long for …

Interview with an ungrateful, impolite, dull, unhuman, drawn creature, as if saxophonist Alban Darche. An interview by email in writing.

JazzBluesNews.com: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. How exactly did your adventure take off? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of?

Alban Darche: – I had the chance from a very young age to be in a class with “arranged schedules”, i.e. with music study times included in the school timetable. I met musicians from that time in elementary school who became professional musicians and are still my friends. However, in high school I continued in a «normal» school, still practicing music on the side, then it was at the time of graduate studies that I definitively opted for music, and entered the «Conservatoire national superieur de Paris» CNSMdP in the jazz department. I studied there with some of my early childhood friends like trumpeter Geoffroy Tamisier or pianist Baptiste Trotignon.

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JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

AD: – Finding the sound is a lifelong quest in my opinion. Moreover considers that the sound produced collectively is as important as the individual sound. I continue to search in many directions, practicing both writing for an ensemble and working on my own sound as a soloist. Regarding the saxophone, I have been influenced by many instrumentalists over the years, and have worked by imitation, but always keeping in mind that these exercises of copying, of immersion, were only steps in the construction of my own sound and my own language.

JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?

AD: – I learned classical saxophone “à la française », in a very French way. I kept a very classic way of working from it: spun sounds, arpeggios, scales, studies… Regarding rhythm, I was caught up in the work of Steve Coleman, by the approach of rhythmic superpositions and claves, from my youth. Poly-rhythmic work involving singing and claves simultaneously forged the basis of my approach to rhythm, and built the foundations of my sense of groove as well as form, including in musical writings since, even in a hidden way, I use the superpositions of cycles and claves in my writings. In my last album “Oh! My love again” it is not the most apparent aspect, however this conception of the form is present there all the same, although the color and the aesthetics of the album are quite classic. My approach of harmony really comes from two heritages: classical/ contemporary music and jazz.

JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?

AD: – Thinking about it, I haven’t changed much. My aesthetic and expressive goals have always been long-term. Besides, my projects and records that follow each other are sometimes very different, but they are part of a logical long-term sequence.

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JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

AD: – That’s a big question. Whatever the paths we take, it is a question of speaking with your soul. I love exploring complex paths, writing and performing rich and demanding music, but at the end of the day it’s always about creating a context for artistic and poetic expression. A framework for expressing oneself and conveying emotions. It is essential that the complexity does not appear, that only the song of the soul is heard by the listeners. I do not oppose complexity intellect and soul.

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?

AD: – I’m not trying to give people the emotion they long for, I’m trying to give them rich emotions and sensations they don’t expect. I want to talk to them, touch them and surprise them.

JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of standard tunes are half a century old?

AD: – Through records it is difficult to reach the younger generations. However, at concerts, all ages are receptive to my music, which I hope is carnal and lively. In addition, standards are a model of expression, but there are others that I use more often: « my » original music of course, but also the covers of more recent music, by treating all kinds of songs as if they were standards.

JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?

AD: – Decompartmentalization. I don’t like labels, I just want to make music. That’s why I do projects with musicians from different backgrounds: classical, pop, jazz, free music…

Of course personally I improvise with the idiom of jazz, but I don’t care if my music is called jazz or pop or contemporary music. It is just music.

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JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?

AD: – I have been listening to a lot of classical music lately, with a view to new work in arrangement and composition: Verdi, Prokofiev, Respighi, Mussorgsky in particular.

Regarding jazz, I plunged back into a childhood love that I had not listened to for a long time, Kenny Garret. I listen to it again with great pleasure.

For a few months I have been playing the alto again, which I had put aside for a few years in favor of the tenor. I’m very happy about it.

JBN: – Do You like our questions? So far, it’s been me asking you questions, now may I have a question from yourself…

AD: – Good idea! Here is my question: “Do you think there is a “French” sound? That the approach to jazz coming from a European – and specifically French – culture is particular, in the age of globalization?”

JBN: – I don’t think so, sorry, it’s another manifestation of racism on your part, jazz is an American art and not a French one. You would do better not to cut short our questions and also answer about John Coltrane’s speech and the meaning of life and that you are so arrogant that you never play for free even for your fans, but we published this interview and we hope, that you will at least write a thank you from your lofty height.


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Interview by Emmanuel Bolton

ALBAN DARCHE - Un artiste du label Cristal Records

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