“Jazz” music has always crossed borders with ease, be they between styles and nations, in order to better glorify the stirring power of its “disparate singularities”, to make them go haywire. Born from the African American experiences, still deeply connected to them while becoming American, European, Western, and transnational, “jazz” grew by producing groundbreaking hybrids, with every musician always contributing their whole being, to be transformed upon contact with others’.
In spite of this, projects that stage meaningful collaborations between French and American musicians have grown ever rarer in the past few decades, for lack of resources and for lack of time – the music industry favors exceptional headlining encounters over long-lasting relationships, and isolated fusions over shared mutations. French musicians seldom tread the American soil, where they are mostly sent as hired guns, with no real opportunity to strengthen the relationships they form there. American musicians are frequent guests of honor at European festivals, but they are barely given the possibility to resume the exchanges they initiate there. Hence the idea to create a transatlantic passage – The Bridge – that could be regularly crossed by the former and the latter, in one way and the other, to re-create the conditions for authentic sharing, through space and time.
This quintet of free sprits – living at the crossroads, seeking to liberate them – was brought together by magnetic forces in October 2013, for the very first exploratory trip organized by The Bridge in France. On the French side, trumpet player Jean-Luc Cappozzo and bass players Joëlle Léandre and Bernard Santacruz. Knowing that the first and the second have, notably, both performed with George Lewis. That the second and the third have, notably, both played with Nicole Mitchell. That the first and the third have, notably, both performed with Charles Gayle, in Denis Fournier’s quintet, and in their own quartet. On the American side, Douglas R. Ewart who, besides being an explosive visual artist, falls square within the lineage of the iconoclast multi-instrumentalists of the AACM, such as Lewis and Mitchell; and Michael Zerang, who has already made his surfaces, skins, and metals resound, hiss, and squeak on the stages of Chicago and Europe. For two weeks, in eight different cities, at twice as many performances and side events, their music, improvised – that is to say, very much in/out of proportion to who they are collectively – has been the adventurously passionate music of paths intersected and worlds crossed, of the most frantic introductions. They discovered for themselves a multiple identity and a band name: Sonic Communion. The Bridge is exceptionally proud to launch with such an ensemble the second phase of its activities (while the first is still taking place with new ensembles in gestation…): the beginning of the “return matches” on the other side of the Atlantic, in order to fulfill the initial wish of reciprocity between musicians and societies. It will be accompanied by an album release, the first issue of the label The Bridge Sessions.