The French jazz musician Sylvain Rifflet dropped his new release Re-Focus via Verve on September 15. The album shows all of Rifflet’s skills as a composer, musician, soloist and improviser.
Ever since he was a teenager and his discovery of Stan Getz‘ legendary album Focus, Sylvain Rifflet had dreams of making a record that would revisit the same format, and give new impetus to the saxophonist’s very successful blend of classics and jazz. It was an ambitious project, but also an opportunity which Verve has now provided.
Steeped in the spirit and methods of the album that Verve originally released in 1961, Sylvain Rifflet presents us with Re-Focus: a rewriting of Focus, a tribute to two elders he admires, and simultaneously a faithful reflection of Rifflet’s own universe. A new ambitious step in Rifflet’s musical career which affirms his genius.
In 1961 with Focus, composer Eddie Sauter has written his name into the “great classical composers” tradition, when he proposed a kind of “real” concerto except that, jazz oblige, the part that fell to soloist Stan Getz, who had commissioned the piece, was not only performed by him, it was improvised.
The 20th century was marked by a new rivalry between, on the one hand, written scores (to which the majority of classical composers continue to have recourse), and on the other hand, recordings (that particular process whereby improvisers leave a trace of their work for future generations). The two approaches, which are in no way contradictory, were reconciled when Focus appeared in 1961. The marriage between stave and disc, classics and jazz, paper transcriptions and what philosopher and cultural critic Walter Benjamin called “mechanical reproduction” couldn’t fail to fascinate Sylvain Rifflet, laureate of the 2016 “Victoire de la Musique” for his album Mechanics. To date, Sylvain continues to defend the influence of classical music on his work.
Unlike the case with many jazz albums where you hear strings, in both Focus and Re-focus the orchestra is much more than a flashy red carpet serving as an opulent foil for the choruses of a jazz musician. The symphonic score over which Stan Getz improvised, fully deserves to be listened to on its own merits. This is also the case with Re-focus. But where Focus maintained distinct roles between Sauter, the composer and arranger, and Getz, the soloist and improviser, the new Re-focus shows Sylvain Rifflet‘s talents both as composer, musician, soloist and improviser. You can recognize the stamp of a composer who, year in and year out, has gained in strength and asserted himself as a worthy heir for such repetitive-music figures as Steve Reich or Philip Glass.
Sylvain Rifflet is on tour right now:
17.11.2017 – Guest of Naïssam Jalal – Belfort
30.11.2017 – Lois le van – Jazz Club – Grenoble
01.12.2017 – What’s next festival, Rembrandt Frerichs Ensemble – Almere-Stad
16.12.2017 – Mechanics, Théâtre de Caen – Caen
05.01.2018 – Mechanics + Duo w/Joce Mienniel @ La Gare – Paris
06.01.2018 – Mechanics + duo w/Joce Mienniel @ La Gare – Paris
17.01.2018 – Guest of Rembrandt Frerichs Trio – Maastricht
08.02.2018 – La grande table @ l’atelier du plateau – Paris
17.02.2018 – Duo w/Sébastien Boisseau @ Université – Lorient
10.03.2018 – Mechanics @ Paul B. – Massy
Artist: Sylvain Rifflet
Label: Verve (Universal Music)
Release date: 15th September, 2017
01. Night run
02. Rue bréguet
03. Another ‘from c’
04. Harlequin on the string
05. Egyptian riot
07. Une de perdue, une de perdue
08. Le kinétoscope