Emile Parisien

soprano saxophon | France

Saxophonist Emile Parisien is one of the most important protagonists of contemporary French jazz. A jazz visionary, who may have one foot in that ancient soil, but his gaze is firmly fixed on the future. The leading French newspaper Le Monde has called him “the best new thing that has happened in European jazz for a long time,” while the Hamburg radio station NDR made the point of telling its listeners to give Parisien their “undivided attention.” The reference points on Parisien’s personal musical map are very widely spread indeed. They range from the popular folk traditions of his homeland to the compositional rigour of contemporary classical music, and also to the abstraction of free jazz. And yet everything he does has a naturalness and authenticity about it. Rather than appearing pre-meditated or constrained, his music has a flow, he traverses genres with a remarkable fleetness of foot and an effortless inevitability. What is it that makes the simple urgency of Parisien’s music quite so enjoyable? How does he manage to combine a provocative and anarchic streak with such a captivating sense of swing? Anyone who has seen and heard him on stage will know: it is because he lives his jazz with body and soul, because there is an authenticity and honesty inflecting every breath and every note.

100 Years of Ligeti > Duo Improvisations Inspired by György Ligeti's String Quartet No. 1 "Métamorphoses Nocturnes". With that exception, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Ligeti’s challenging, and complex music has seldom reached appeal among the broader public. Among musicians, however, his standing and the influence of his music are immense. Ligeti’s lifelong search for new paths, from sound-surface music to micropolyphony and microtonality has left its defining, long term mark on jazz musicians too. "This string quartet is a rich source of inspiration for our improvisations," Parisien explains. "As one of his early works from the 1950s, it is still strongly influenced by Béla Bartók. Hence it has a strong, constantly moving principal theme which runs through the whole piece." Parisien and Negro have always been particularly enthusiastic about the rhythmic aspects of the piece, with its echoes of Stravinsky. And it is these which have given structure to their adaptation, which they have divided into eleven parts, each with a different tempo marking. "The original motifs, moods and colours shine forth again and again. Harmonically, we expanded them with our ideas," explains Negro. "Métanuits" is a fascinating endeavour > a wonderful piece of craftsmanship in which everything seems to interlock. There is high-wire virtuosic playing, exploration of all the tonal possibilities of the instruments by both players. Tempi tend to be on the fast side (with the indications on the sections ‘allegro’, ‘presto’ or ‘prestissimo’ setting the pace), but with a 'largo' to catch breath at the end. There is also a surprising lyrical warmth, as the pair follow each other through constantly changing re-framings of the theme, which as is re-heard takes on an irresistible expressiveness. "The overlaps between classical music and jazz are particularly close to my heart. The boundaries between these genres no longer must exist" is Roberto Negro’s view. In their homage to Ligeti, they don't even bother with the historicising conventions and barriers of an old, abstract, or arcane avantgarde. Instead, they let this beguilingly contemporary music resound - and reveal its astonishing communicative strengths.

Roberto Negro (piano), Emile Parisien (soprano saxophon)

With breathtaking technical skills, great sensitivity, imagination and a good amount of anarchy, Emile Parisien investigates, challenges and expands the jazz genre. The result is fresh, European music, rousing, virtuoso and full of emotion.
In more than ten years the Emile Parisien quartet has played various concerts all over the world. They got inspired by freethinkers like Wayne Shorter or Ornette Coleman, but their ingenuity and their way to try something new are not to compare with other ensembles. The quartet has its own way of telling musical stories and to show its exuberant creativity and friskiness.
The new album of the band, "Double Screening", combines all of their exceptional qualities.

Ivan Gélugne (double bass), Julien Loutelier (drums), Emile Parisien (soprano saxophon), Julien Touéry (piano)

Internationally acclaimed French saxophonist Emile Parisien is regarded as one of the most important protagonists of contemporary jazz. „Parisien's inventiveness and energy are simply stunning",saysTélérama. Downbeat made clear: „To say that French alto and soprano saxophonist Émile Parisien is doing well in Europe would be an understatement.“ With his brand new electric sextet ‘Louise‘, Parisien continues to expand his musical world between traditional and contemporary jazz, with great sensitivity and imagination. The programme consists of original compositions, inspired by his great admiration for border-crossing, French-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010). For this endeavor, Parisien is joined by masterful European and US-American players: Adventurous trumpeter Theo Croker, original guitarist Manu Cordja, poetic pianist Roberto Negro and the New York City-based jazz greats Joe Martin (bass) and Nasheet Waits (drums). With this project and line-up of renowed musicians Emile Parisien sets path for a new adventure defying musical and cultural borders.

Manu Codija (guitar), Theo Croker (trumpet), Joe Martin (bass), Roberto Negro (piano), Emile Parisien (soprano saxophon), Nasheet Waits (drums)

The German pianist Michael Wollny and the French soprano saxophonist Emile Parisien are kindred spirits. Both are undoubtedly considered nothing less than defining figures for the musical language of their instruments - in jazz and way beyond. Both constantly create unexpected, surprising, new music out of the most diverse influences - European and American jazz, classical music, pop, contemporary music, avantgarde and mainstream. And both are masters of the moment, understand in the most sensitive way how to engage with their counterparts and, in interaction with them, always create fascinating, previously un-heard music. Wollny and Parisien have known each other for a long time, and the palette of their joint projects to date is as broad as their individual musical spectrums. These range from the quartet "Out of Land" together with singer Andreas Schaerer and accordionist Vincent Peirani, to the internationally acclaimed, free, electro-acoustic project "XXXX" featuring drummer Christian Lillinger and bassist Tim Lefebvre, to spectacular special projects such as Wollny's "Bau.Haus.Klang" on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the legendary design school and collaborations of Emile Parisien with Michael Wollny's trio. And so it was probably only a matter of time before Wollny and Parisien would turn to a joint duo - arguably the most intimate, open and at the same time perhaps most challenging format of musical interaction. Together they bring a whole cosmos of influences, ideas, inspirations to life. A masterful dialogue of two unique figures of European jazz.

Emile Parisien (soprano saxophon), Michael Wollny (piano)

14.07.2023 DE - Stuttgart // Jazzopen Emile Parisien Sextet | LOUISE feat. Theo Croker