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With the participation of: Emile Parisien, John Taylor, Jeanne Added, Fabrice Moreau
Hear the images and see the music.
Here in a few words is what touches me in the cinema of the New Wave. If, in the first place, jazz is very present in the films (Miles Davis, Martial Solal, Michel Legrand), there are also significant similarities between the cinema of these directors and my own conception of jazz: the exploration of personal worlds (Truffaut’s childhood in Les Quatre Cents Coups, Godard’s love for Anna Karina in Pierrot le fou and Une femme est une femme), the calling into question of classic aesthetic concepts, the affirmation of spatial deconstruction, but also the insertion of certain irrelevant scenes, guided by the sheer pleasure of movie-making (just as jazz musicians can be guided by the sheer pleasure of playing their instruments) –these are among the characteristics that were a powerful source of inspiration to me as I wrote the music for this disc.
But how to bring Godard, Truffaut, Malle, and Demy together, when their styles are so different? How to bring together the music of Michel Legrand, Antoine Duhamel, Georges Delerue, and Miles Davis in a single programme? I got my answer from François Truffaut: ‘The only shared element that unites us is freedom.’ The constant frenzied car journeys of Ferdinand (Pierrot le fou), or the closing scene of Les Quatre Cents Coups when Antoine Doinel finally sees the sea, are both symbols of a permanent quest for freedom. These musics, superficially so different, also have in common the freedom that each composer was given and the freedom of the function they fulfil in the films.
The contribution of John Taylor, with whom I was lucky enough to record Patience three years ago, was absolutely essential: he brought us great depth in the approach to these themes and in the wisdom of all his interventions. Fabrice Moreau and Émile Parisien are two musicians who have travelled alongside me for several years now. They too made a major contribution to the success of this recording thanks to their great flexibility and their personalities. For me, Jeanne Added was the singer who could best breathe new life into the songs of this period. I gave Jeanne complete freedom to choose and reinterpret the two songs on the disc. Her vocal mastery and the modernity of her creative universe were the perfect vehicles for a new take on Chanson de Maxence and Jamais je ne t’ai dit . . .
In short, the disc was conceived as an image of what I love in these films: the themes we played were only very slightly arranged and were regarded as raw materials. We left plenty of room for improvisation and appropriation of the themes, on the basis of which each of these formidable musicians built their part of the edifice, always respecting the spirit of these magical films, that is to say, retaining the greatest possible freedom.
Translation: Charles Johnston
‘In Alphaville, the characters often talk about worlds exterior to them; instead of filming them, I let the spectator hear their music. These are sounds that have the value of images . . .
‘I think you can hear the images and see the music . . .’
- Jean-Luc Godard