Julian Lage: “Jazz is a story of people: their heart, their state of mind and their soul”

At 30, he is one of the best jazz guitarists of today, but he defines himself more like a blues guitarist, shared music with his father when he started making music at only 5 years old. Portrait of Julian Lage at Jazz in Marciac 2018.

When he’s on stage with his trio, composed of bassist Jorge Roeder and percussionist Eric Doob , the deal is perfect. The musicians breathe together, their eyes in the eye, the instruments touch almost in a bewitching dialogue. That’s it, jazz, and beyond the genre, that’s the music for this virtuoso and creative musician: sharing in the moment. And Julian Lage rubbed shoulders with many others, big names in the jazz scene, during his meteoric rise. At only 30 years old, the musician counts 25 years of music, first of all in family, then very quickly with giants like Carlos Santana (at eight years old), Pat Metheny , Kenny Werner , Toots ThielemansMartin Taylor or David Grisman . But who is this Californian smiling and youthful, who teaches and composes, and who is one with his guitar? Backstage meeting on the occasion of his concert at the Jazz in Marciac 2018 festival.

France Musique: How did you come to jazz?

Julian Lage: I went into the music blues, and then, naturally I went to jazz, because it was in the order of things. We start with a style and very quickly the curiosity takes us elsewhere, and in my case, it was jazz.

You started playing the guitar very young, at 5 years old. You often say that your father had a very important role at the beginning?

My family, and especially my father, were decisive in my choices. At the time, my father started playing guitar because he wanted to play the blues. To spend time with him, I got started too. My father was taking a lesson with a teacher and then he was teaching it to me. For me, it was an excuse to be with him. [ . . . ]

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French electronic duo Her find immortality in their music

“We choose the way we’ll be remembered.” The first song Simon Carpentier and Victor Solf wrote as French electronic duo Her opens their self-titled debut album with those words. Both of them were afraid of the future at the time and needed to make a song about how they should be the ones to decide how they are remembered. No one else could decide.

“We Choose” was released after Carpentier’s death from cancer, aged 27, in August 2017. He and Solf had met over a decade ago at their school in the medieval town of Rennes, north France, forming Her in 2015 after their first band, electro-pop band The Popopopops, split two years earlier.

Knowing their time was limited, they mapped out how they wanted their debut album to sound, and how the entire project would be presented to the world. You’d be hard-pushed to find a record or another band to compare it to, and it’s not what you might expect from a French electronic act.

“Making this album was a very intense part of our life,” Solf says. He’s sat, in an orange roll-neck sweater and black trousers – handsome in a particularly French way, with a strong jaw and dark, close-cropped hair – at a venue in Paris where the first part of a documentary about Her will be shown, along with a live performance by him and his band members.


“It was really important for us to be able to produce our songs, to be really focused on the whole project,” he continues. “But it was also important to trust people and bring them in; we’d been working with our sound engineer for five years, even before Her, and he really helped us a lot on the production and the mixing.

“Sometimes you can’t see anymore what’s wrong with a song, so someone a little bit outside can help. It was the same with the musicians, Simon could play the guitar and the bass and I could play the keyboard and some drums, so we could have recorded it ourselves if we’d really wanted, but it’s not how we think about music. We started to work with three other musicians – without computers – in the studio, and it was really nice to have different opinions.” Continue reading “French electronic duo Her find immortality in their music”

Jazz in La Villette: Sarah Murcia celebrates the Sex Pistols, Magic Malik and Vic Moan

Sarah Murcia is a double bassist, singer, composer and eclectic and brilliant arranger. She has performed three times this year at Jazz in La Villette. This week’s evening, with her group, is a re-release of the album “Sex Pistols”. Sarah Murcia is an amateur singer and songwriter, who is a student of the American Academy of Music. Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Fred Choulet, Elysian Fields, Sylvain Cathala, Steve Coleman and Kamilya Jubran. She also writes for cinema and dance. In 2001, [ . . . ]

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Etienne Comar’s “Django Melodies”

I’m greatly anticipating the upcoming release of Etienne Comar’s film,”Django Melodies,” which aims to tell a chapter from the extraordinary life story of legendary French jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt , specifically Django’s adventures trying to flee from Nazi persecution during World War II.
Reinhardt co-founded the iconic Quintette du Hot Club de France with violinist Stéphane Grappelli in the 1930s. He is regarded as the father of jazz manouche, or gypsy jazz.
The movie stars Reda Kateb as Django, Cécile De France (so terrific in the Dardenne BrothersThe Kid With the Bike) and the beautiful Hungarian folk singer Palya Bea.
The cast certainly looks the part (see below.) The proof of the pudding (or better, gypsy goulash) will be Comar’s telling of Django’s thrilling story fleeing the Nazis, and not in any attempted recreation of Django’s guitar playing. Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown was a very good movie, and Sean Penn received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for his portrayal as the Django-obsessed “Emmet,” despite the fact that Penn’s guitar fingering was not particularly realistic. Certainly, the manner in which Django’s wonderful gypsy jazz music is presented will help determine the film’s success, but hopefully there will be few closeups of guitar fingering. Why bother?
Django Melodies marks the directorial debut of Comar, who also co-wrote the script with Alexis Salatko. Dutch jazz band Rosenberg Trio re-recorded Reinhardt’s music for the film’s soundtrack.
– [Mike Stevenson / Pas De Merde]

Django, sa femme, son groupe et… Etienne Comar, le réalisateur

Penned by Etienne Comar together with Alexis Salatko, and based on the novel Folles de Django, written by the latter, the story kicks off during the German occupation in 1943.

Gypsy Django Reinhardt, a true “guitar hero”, is at the top of his game. Every evening, he thrills the Paris smart set at the Folies Bergères cabaret music hall with his swing music, while elsewhere in Europe his brethren are being hunted down and butchered.

When the German propaganda machine wants to send him to Berlin for a series of concerts, he senses he is in danger and decides to escape to Switzerland with the help of one of his female admirers, Louise de Klerk. In order to make it there, he heads to Thonon-les-Bains on the shores of Lake Geneva with his pregnant wife, Naguine, and his mother, Negros. But the escape attempt turns out to be more complicated than anticipated, and Django and his family find themselves plunged headfirst into war.

Nevertheless, even during this dramatic period, he remains an exceptional musician who puts up a fight through his music and his sense of humour, and who seeks to attain musical perfection. [http://cineuropa.org/]