Claude Tchamitchian solo
Claude Tchamitchian composition et contrebasse
“The rules governing the idea and whole conception of In Spirit follow the same obvious necessity I’ve always felt about exploring new territory and developing new idioms specific to the double bass.
There are, however, two traits that mark this new solo. For the first time ever since I started composing, I’d heard the music beforehand and this set a process in motion that would help it emerge by my acting on the very fundamentals of the instrument, whereas in my two previous solos Jeu d’enfants and Another Childhood, the music emerged gradually during the entire process of its creation.
This process slowly convinced me that I’d have to use a second instrument. And then I had the good fortune to find myself entrusted with one of the double basses that had belonged to Jean-François Jenny-Clark – a wonderful opportunity that allowed me to create and perform this solo, and by an amazing coincidence, it was during the year of the 20th anniversary of his death.”
People forget all too often that the very first record with Claude Tchamitchian as leader was a double bass solo. In Jeu d’enfants, recorded in 1992, this young musician on the brink of his career, was spontaneously laying the aesthetic foundations of his own private world, lyrical, gestural and intimist all at once, and based on his profound physical and emotional knowledge of the instrument.
Ever since, Claude Tchamitchian has been marking his own itinerary by combining his remarkable plasticity of style with flawless physical and intellectual commitment, whatever the context. As a major figure of the contemporary jazz scene in Europe, he is now recognised not only as an outstanding instrumentalist, but also as a charismatic leader and an inspired composer who offers more and more sophisticated strokes of orchestral genius, following the variable geometry of his group Lousadzak.
Even so, in the midst of this rich and varied tapestry of his own making, there is one almost hidden thread that stands out. Across the years, Claude Tchamitchian has never ceased to develop and delve further into the deeply introspective exercise of the solo, even going so far as to make this a sort of special experimental area, where he can try out new forms and idioms, new techniques of playing, all of which regularly give him new inspiration. He comes humbly face to face with his instrument to go through the test of strength and truth that his solitary presence as he comes to grips with it, provides.
He is constantly seeking a good balance between sensual expression and formal discipline, spontaneous narration and structural abstraction, the old style and sophisticated new input, emotional nonchalance and technical virtuosity. Claude Tchamitchian alone on double bass, facing its material presence, brute force, and sheer resistance, has perfected a predominantly lyrical language as ambitious as it is profoundly personal, where, like a certain main theme giving coherence and direction to the whole, the song turns out to be central to everything.
Making bridges between erudite music and popular traditions, exploring his own inner landscapes with constantly renewed conviction and faith in the virtues of improvisation, Claude Tchamitchian playing solo possesses that rare talent of entering into a real dialogue with the instrument, bringing it to life with his own body (his moods, his spontaneous gestures) so that it in turn will resound all the more intimately and densely, a richly vibrant and deeply moving experience.