Artist/Composer:Brun - Courtois - Fincker
 Title:Les Démons de Tosca - Opus 1
(P) 2019
At the beginning, it was something Vincent Courtois wanted: “to investigate the idea of the demon in artistic invention” using Puccini’s opera to support the idea. And then very quickly, it became a laboratory of ideas, of realized sounds, a readjusting of perspective for him and others, a collective of singularities united around the one that directs the aptly named Compagnie de l’imprevu (Company of the unexpected). More than a concert, this evolving multimedia apparatus has for three years investigated the links between creativity and audience, setting out from the meeting of audiences said to be “far” from workshops/ concerts. Those from areas said to be difficult, those who are in custody, in grammar schools, those at home, in the suburbs of towns, or in apartments. It’s a case of collecting different words, that the appeals of some provoke reactions from others. “I need to go and find other audiences: to open their ears, and for them to open mine.” Sound is the business of movement, a case of going, of detours.


01. Les Démons de Tosca Part II
2:13
02. Les Démons de Tosca Part III
11:12
03. Waiting for Sadness
7:59
04. Les Démons de Tosca Part I
8:19
05. San Andrea
6:03
06. Des maux de tous les jours
6:05
07. Coda
3:50

 Total time: 45:44
Performers
Sebastien Brun – drums, electronics
Vincent Courtois – cello
Robin Fincker – tenor saxophone
Production notes:
All Compositions by Vincent Courtois except Les Démons de Tosca Part II & III by Sebastien Brun, Vincent Courtois
and Robin Fincker
Recorded live by Viktor Szabó at Opus Jazz Club on 25 May, 2017
Mixed, mastered and tampered with by Alex Bonney in spring/summer 2018
Artwork: László Huszár / Greenroom

Produced by László Gőz
Label manager: Tamás Bognár

www.le-grigri.com (fr)
Franck Bergerot - Jazz Magazine (pdf) (fr)
Franpi Barriaux - Citizen Jazz (fr)
Olasz Sándor - Riff.hu (hu)
Komlós József JR - Alföldi Régió Magazin (hu)

Click on the image for higher resolution!ABOUT THE “DEMONS OF TOSCA” BY THE COMPAGNIE DE L’IMPRÉVU

At the beginning, it was something Vincent Courtois wanted: “to investigate the idea of the demon in artistic invention” using Puccini’s opera to support the idea. And then very quickly, it became a laboratory of ideas, of realized sounds, a readjusting of perspective for him and others, a collective of singularities united around the one that directs the aptly named Compagnie de l’imprevu (Company of the unexpected). More than a concert, this evolving multimedia apparatus has for three years investigated the links between creativity and audience, setting out from the meeting of audiences said to be “far” from workshops/ concerts. Those from areas said to be difficult, those who are in custody, in grammar schools, those at home, in the suburbs of towns, or in apartments. It’s a case of collecting different words, that the appeals of some provoke reactions from others. “I need to go and find other audiences: to open their ears, and for them to open mine.” Sound is the business of movement, a case of going, of detours.

That is how this project was born, a project not quite like others; a route that never repeats itself but retains the course, where the cellist admired for leaving well-trodden paths, an incorrigible nomad, has grouped around him a line-up of partners tuned into his introspective reflection: the actor Pierre Baux, the sound designer Hélène Cœur, the photographer Tina Merandon, and then the musicians, from all backgrounds, passionate about improvisation. Benjamin Moussay, Sylvain Daniel, Julian Sartorius, Bruno Ruder, Daniel Erdmann... On top of everything close to a dozen concerts, never in the same line-up twice. From duets to octets, the geometry changes each time, and the climates change accordingly. The initial premise of this project understands the dogma of aleatoric music to be as follows: “The music must continue to be free but controlled, demanding but generous, profound and clear, and in the end everyone should be able to experience it as primitive, intimate, and unique.” This challenge requires panache.

“It’s about outing the demons within us, positive and negative ones. The aim is to be as close as possible to what I hear and feel. This goes to reach and overreach these barriers, large or small, that I call “demons”. The things that lure us away from our path. It might be stage fright, the audience, the fear of making a mistake, wanting to be liked, omniscient technique... For that, you need to put the masks aside. I was a student at a conservatoire, and if I’ve turned towards this music, jazz, it is in search of authenticity, liberty. Behind this word, I sense the necessity to listen, a need for the other. This is a music of sensitivity and responsivity, of rapid choices!” Instantaneity, the given moment, no strings attached, no cliches, with no pre-calibrated format. That is way to listen to this music, from the concert in Budapest and all the others that have been played since 2016. In the here and now.

For this concert, the cellist was in good company: the drummer debater Seb Brun, and the funambulist saxophonist Robin Fincker. Two musicians with whom Vincent Courtois has often worked for many years: the first a free electron from the COAX galaxy and founder of Carton Records, was involved in the Homme-Avion project in winter 2010; with the second, it was a year later, with the London trio Blink, and then later the Mediums, already another manner of approaching the central question of improvisation.

The three of them had never played together, all three have always chosen the indirect approach, with sharpened perception, with no holds barred. At the end of the day, sidling along sideways, hanging back by a hair’s breadth -- it’s the only way to proceed in the world of improvised music. “Knowing how to lose yourself. I think we are all looking for something. Personally I love rummaging around. Playing with piles of notes, sounds, rhythms. Making them into an ephemeral castle of feeling”, says in summary Seb Brun, who was immediately seduced by the idea of demons lurking in each one of us. “The way in which we debate and agree with our demons at the moment of playing remains constant.”

In this soundtrack, one long suite rather than a suite of pieces, the listener passes through many states: this you drum, that you stretch, this you’re startled at, that you anticipate, this rustles, that hoots, this cuts short, that takes your breath, this is played on a string, or all in one block, and so on. No ego-trip, just playing in a triangle, complex and clear, where decision-making is guided by good timing, and demands that each listen to the others, and to themself. “The choice of speaking, of whether or not to play, is at the heart of the proposition. It’s about being at the service of a narrative without feeling hemmed in. In the first concerts as a quintet, we decided to make an “out-of-bounds” space on the stage where you could go when you weren’t playing, and still stay connected to the music that was being made. This made speaking essential and “necessary”. Not playing anything except what you must play, and leaving again.” recalls Robin Fincker. Suffice to listen to his solos: not a note too many, just what is necessary.

Only the music counts, as free to lose itself as to stick close to a melody. Like an echo of a jazz that is oblivious to consecrated formulae and pre-calibrated formats.

It is all the more true with this project, with its voluntarily unstable method. It is impossible to rest on one’s laurels as a bona fide virtuoso emeritus, when the line-up is constantly changing. “The only thing which does not change are the pieces of the repertoire and the order in which we play it. I’ve created a kind of dramaturgy that follows the dynamics of the libretto of the opera Tosca. We are impregnated by the libretto and particularly the sulphurous, red, black atmosphere where religion mixes with love, death, eroticism, violence, blood...” Vincent Courtois is fond of saying. With his fiftieth approaching leaps and bounds, he stays faithful to what has been known for a long time: whether as an attentive partner or an attentive leader, questions and pauses are nothing new in his career. They are the thread that allow him to maintain this fragile disequilibrium at the edge of the precipice. “What I am most interested in is being put in danger, risk, and therefore accidents. I need that to move forward. I write music, which is nothing but a pretext for finding who you are by going much further than some notes placed on paper.” In other words, anyone who thinks this is a jazz version of Puccini will get little recompense.

Jacques Denis, 1 February 2019
Translated by Richard Robinson


“When the proposal came from the BMC label produce a “live” CD of the trio’s concert, it was quite clear to us, the three musicians, that this could only represent a small part, one instant, of the shape-shifting expressions of the “Demons of Tosca”.

Then, once the excitement of hearing the recording had passed, there was a desire to refine this snapshot, to play bluff with time we improvised in the concert, to cut it into pieces, to fashion these pieces, and bring out shadows and contrasts.

This was followed by the idea of giving free reign to another improviser with new ears, Alex Bonney, to manage the sound production of the CD. In this way, some gestures launched in the distance were brought into the foreground, while the breadth of the sound spaces changes, as does the relationship between the timbres.

In the end, the same intentions motivated each stage of the production of this instance of the “Demons of Tosca”. To improvise intuitively, urgently, with the mad illusion of being free of all demons...”

Seb Brun, Vincent Courtois, Robin Fincker, January 2019