April 20, 2024


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Interview with Sylvain Rifflet: I like the era, even though it’s tough and scary

Interview with saxophonist Sylvain Rifflet. An interview by email in writing.

Dear readers, get to know more about our US/EU Jazz – Blues Festivals and the activities of our US/EU Jazz – Blues Association in the capitals of Europe, we will soon publish program for 2024, enjoy in the July – August – Brussels, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, Sofia, new addreses this year, also in Amsterdam, Budapest and Liverpool.

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?

Sylvain Rifflet: – I was born and raised in Paris – France. I decided I wanted to be a musician and a saxophone player when I saw Clint Eastwood’s movie “Bird” about Charlie Parker… Since then I’ve dedicated my life to music.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

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

JBN: – I’ve been working a lot on my sound actually. I must say this is probably the most important aspect of my music and my playing. I think my sound as evolved a lot. I’ve tried to make my sound deeper and wider. I changed several times of material (reeds and mouthpiece). Since a few years my set up is stabilized : the brand SYOS has made me a “on measure” mouthpiece and D’addario Reeds which are great.

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

JBN: – I had a lot of time to practice since the pandemic and I must say I loved it. I went back to practicing things I never had time to deepen. I’ve been working a lot on different Bach Partitas (for flute and violin) and I did a lot of transposing.

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

JBN: – I don’t really know if I’ve changed! I think I have defined more precisely what kind of musician I am and what type of music I want to play …

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

JBN: – I usually try to build my projects with the intellect : think about the concept, the music and compose it in accordance to want I want to bring to the audience. And then, when I play I try to forget everything and to be spontaneous and free.

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

JBN: – Giving people emotion is the only goal I seek when I play! I try to construct unheard projects and surprise the audience with unique music…

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

JBN: – I believe that everyone can be interested in any type of music as long as it’s well played and well done! To bring young audience to the jazz scene we maybe need to mix our sounds with more actual music, And I see a lot of musicians who are going in this direction.

JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?

JBN: – I think music is my mantra, my spirit too. I’ve dedicated my life to music and it’s was moves me the most!

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

JBN: – I would forbid 4/4 bars! As Moondog said ” the world will end in a 4/4 bar” and actually I think he was right. 99% of the music is in 4/4 … and to e it makes it a bit boring.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Association 2023

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

JBN: – Chris Spees’s recent clarinet solo. I listen a lot to collaborations between Alva Noto and Ryūichi Sakamoto. And I still go back to Stan Getz and Bach all the time….

JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?

JBN: – I must say I like the era, even though it’s tough and scary. Environment decline, political stupidity, wars etc … are really frightening but I also like the emulation and excitement there is in the music scene despite the terrible plunder and theft made by the platforms.


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Interview by Emmanuel Bolton

Sylvain Rifflet - Biographie - Festival 1001 Notes

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