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Mission Statement

Jazz – owing to its particular history – has always been an unmatched medium that allowed the sounds and music of different worlds to express themselves with passion and singularity, shaped by a musical art dedicated to collective invention and reinvention. Jazz was the original “world music,” long before this label became widespread.

In the recent years, after a century of stories and legends when every improviser, group, and scene grew ever more specific, many French and American musicians have expressed a renewed interest in experiencing the musical and sociomusical realities of their transatlantic counterparts. To really create mutual knowledge. But often with the regret that these adventures, swift to go “beyond expectations,” do not continue beyond a few concerts, a tour, or a recording, due to the lack of adequate structures.

The Bridge intends to form such a network for exchange, production, and diffusion, to build a transatlantic bridge that will be crossed on a regular basis by French and American musicians as part of collaborative projects. And, in addition to the scheduled projects, encourage meetings and relationships between creative musicians and perpetuate them. In other words: to give them the times and spaces to join and rejoin on both sides of the ocean and to deepen their exchanges.

Circulation Flow

Every year, The Bridge organizes four travels for two or three musicians at a time: the French go the USA, the Americans go to France, alternatively. Each time, before their departure, the musicians have decided of an original formation with two or three of their counterparts, also member of the network. On site and in situation, The Bridge collaborates with the local structures of production and diffusion that work year-round on a given territory.

From France to the USA, the travels can be likened to two-week stays in Chicago and the Midwest – for it is more evident and interesting, to boost exchanges, to have these formations play several times in a row in different areas of the town for different audiences, than to tour in a country the size of a continent. Besides, Chicago deserves it reputation of a great welcoming city where several intersecting communities of musicians make themselves infinitely available. The length of the stays creates the conditions to set off other events than those related to the initial project – rehearsals, performances, all kinds of twist and turns that lead to the inception of future projects.

From the USA to France, these travels are closers to tours for the artist-initiated French-American ensembles. These tours rely on the network of clubs and festivals that have partnered with The Bridge. Along the way, we ensure that the travelling musicians have time set aside to give them the opportunity to perform with other members of the network than those they have initially come to perform with. Again, with the intent of setting off future projects.

The Bridge operates as a series of hubs, person to person, grouping to grouping, and by rotation, in order to reinforce the links between communities of musicians with distinct yet complementary practices, and to open new flows of circulation and socio-musical life, easily identified and crossed by audiences and, in open sessions, by improvisers out of the network.

Before and after travels, The Bridge respectively contextualizes and puts in perspective the performances for the hosting structures and their audience and partners: presentations of and discussions of the projects, conferences and workshops with the involved musicians, etc. And create a living archive of all these events (interviews, reporting, audio and/or video recording of the concerts, etc.) to provide, in the long term, an irreplaceable fount of documents for the audiences of jazz and improvised music, industry professionals, music students, and researchers working in the field.

 

2016, year VI of The Bridge… and beyond

During a first phase of activities, with two inaugural evenings in February 2013 in Paris and April 2013 in Chicago, then with the 14 first tours (7 to the United States, 7 to France) organized since the Fall of 2013 and until the end of 2015, The Bridge had already enabled 77 French and North-American musicians, divided in 16 ensembles, to perform in numerous ways in either country.

In 2016, the 5 French-American ensembles in circulation (still at the rhythm of 4 annual and “official” travels, but with 2 simultaneous ensembles for some American tours) have involved 25 French and American musicians (among them, the Americans travelling to France: Joshua Abrams, Mwata Bowden, Matt Lux, Rob Mazurek, Joe McPhee, and Chad Taylor).

46 French and American musicians part of the network, and 68 musicians not part of the network, were also associated to these tours.

In the scope of these tours, there were 35 “official” concerts, on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as 79 parallel concerts and events (concerts in sub-ensembles or with other musicians; performances with dancers, circus performers, magicians, videographers, and poets; live film soundtracks, public meetings, debates, workshops, master classes, jam sessions, recording sessions…).

Exploratory tours in 2017

  • January/February 2017 (France), The Bridge #6 / Escape Lane (return journey): Joachim Florent / Denis Fournier / Ben Lamar Gay / Jeff Parker + Ari Brown – NEW ALBUM !
  • May 2017 (Chicago), The Bridge #13: Jean-Luc Guionnet / Pierre-Antoine Badaroux / Jim Baker / Jason Roebke
  • Octobre 2017 (France), The Bridge #0 / Twins (return journey): Fred Jackson / Makaya McCraven / Stéphane Payen / Edward Perraud – NEW ALBUM!
  • Novembre 2017 (Chicago), The Bridge #9 (return journey): Dana Hall / Sylvain Kassap / Mike Ladd / Mankwe Ndosi + Ed Wilkerson – NEW ALBUM!