July 18th > August 4th


of Jazz in Marciac


Marciac 2011 : Jazz & Cinema

What always fascinated him about jazz is that it's a music where people meet, Clint Eastwood explained one day, while filming "Bird". It was in front of a small coterie of listeners, among whom was the late pianist Walter Davis, Jr., as well as actors Michael Zelnicker (Red Rodney in the film) and Mario Van Peebles, who had come to pay a visit to his former employer (Heartbreak Ridge). He added, addressing himself to the man who was to direct New Jack City, a man who needed convincing, that jazz players are not only capable of playing with new partners, but that this is what they want to do, unlike what you find on the rock scene, whose formal, fixed sets left him cold.

Disconcerting coincidence, twenty three years after the somewhat controversial release of what is now known as a biopic consecrated to Charlie Parker, the Jazz in Marciac line-up is a spectacular illustration of Eastwood's stand. You would be forgiven for thinking that, as from the opening night, where we will see the Cameroonian Richard Bona and the Afro-American-Argentinian Raul Midon, the programme for this thirty fourth edition of Newport-in-the-Gers has been conceived purely on a succession of different encounters. There are a few classics to savour (Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau, Michel Camilo and Chucho Valdes, Al Di Meola and Gonzalo Rubalcaba), but also some rather less intimate confrontations, which will not lack stimulation (Dave Douglas and Enrico Rava, John Scofield and Mulgrew Miller, Chick Corea and Jean-Luc Ponty), some testimonial concerts (Richard Galliano paying tribute to Nino Rota, Roy Hargrove to Chet Baker). To top it all, the result of an invitation that Ahmad Jamal made to Yusef Lateef (their combined age being 172) following a meeting that never materialized in Paris in 2009, an evening that, all on its own, makes the Marciac safari worthwhile.

Nobody will regret that, once again this year, Jazz in Marciac suggests that any future or potential friends join, not on Facebook, but on the rugby field, which is, after all, the theatre of its indomitable creativity. Among the newcomers this year, you will notice John McLaughlin, the Great Briton with the hyperactive plectrum, the excellent vocalist Al Jarreau, who collects Awards (seven and still counting) in different categories: jazz, soul and pop, or T. S. Monk, who, doubtlessly out of respect to his illustrious forebear, has chosen the drums rather than the piano.

Tigran Hamasyan, finally, young Armenian pianist (at only 24) represents this new generation, sharp as steel on technique ; the kind of person it is important to meet, no matter how much experience one has. After all, doesn't he say that his main concern today is to never reproduce what has been done before?

© Arkade, Marciac.

© Arkade, Marciac.