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Michel Portal, Vincent Peirani, Émile Parisien

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Michel Portal (clarinet, saxophone, bandoneon), Vincent Peirani (accordion), Émile Parisien (soprano sax)

Two brilliant 30 year-olds (Peirani and Parisien) accompanied by another in his eighties blessed with eternal youth, Bayonne’s Michel Portal, dialogue freely in this interesting project. Portal, a high-ranker among Basque jazz musicians, is an artist who defies classification, who challenges the rules and is highly acclaimed for his tremendous skill with all sorts of instruments. Pierani and Parisien dazzled with their first joint album, Belle Époque (2014), over which hovers the shadow of Sidney Bechet. The two received the Victoires du Jazz award, France’s most prestigious in the sector.

MICHEL PORTAL: DONOSTIAKO JAZZALDIA AWARD

Bayonne’s Michel Portal, a superlative Basque jazz musician, is an artist who denies classification, who challenges the rules, and to whom the rest of the world raises their hat for his expertise with the myriad the instruments he plays. He is an exceptional clarinet player, recognised in the classical music world for his renderings of Brahms and Mozart. While particularly magnificent on the bass clarinet, following in the wake of Eric Dolphy, he also plays a prodigious alto (influenced in his early days by Paul Desmond), tenor and soprano sax, and even the bandoneon. Owing to this variety of instruments, to his conception of music and to his ability to improvise on stage, Michel Portal is a figurehead of European free jazz. In 1971 he launched his Unit project, with an open structure serving as a music laboratory for many of the French avant-garde musicians. Although he advocates the collective dimension of a work created live on stage from minimal formal elements, Portal is also an accomplished composer, having written the music for numerous cinema and TV films.

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