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French-American Jazz Exchange Announces Five Grants

Jon Irabagon, William Parker and Amir ElSaffar are among those chosen

Jon Irabagon performs with Dee Dee Bridgewater; Oct. 26, 2008, Los Angeles
William Parker
Amir ElSaffar and Hafez Modirzadeh
William Parker

Five grants will be awarded to jazz artists by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and FACE (French-American Cultural Exchange). The awards, totaling $111,930, are in support of the 2012-2013 French-American Jazz Exchange (“FAJE”) program. According to a press release, “FAJE is dedicated to furthering the creative and professional development of jazz artists from France and the United States through the interchange of artistic practice and exposure to new constituencies. FAJE is made possible through the generous support of Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs de Musique (SACEM), Florence Gould Foundation and InstitutFrançais.”

Two artists from France and two from the United States review grant applications and serve as panelists. The panel this year included:

Reza Ackbaraly, Programming, Jazz à Vienne, Paris, France

Gerald Clayton, jazz artist, New York, NY

Patricia Cruz, Executive Director, Harlem Stage, New York, NY

Benoit Delbecq, jazz artist, Clichy, France

The panel chose the following artists for recognition. The descriptions were provided by FACE:

Amir ElSaffar with Sylvain Barou

Iraqi-American trumpeter, dulcimer player and vocalist Amir ElSaffar and his New York-based colleagues Emmanuel During (violin, guitar, lute) and Mavrothi Kontanis (uod) will collaborate with Sylvain Barou (wooden flute) of Brittany and the Paris-based French-Iranian percussionist Keyvan Chemirani to compose new works that combine elements of jazz, Middle Eastern music and Celtic folk tunes. The project will include a five-day residency in New York, a three-day Paris residency, recorded live performances in both cities, and a studio recording.

Jeremy Udden with Nicholas Moreaux

American saxophonist Jeremy Udden and French bassist Nicholas Moreaux will collaboratively compose new jazz pieces influenced by the folk traditions of their respective countries. The composers will be joined by Americans Robert Stillmann (saxophone and Fender Rhodes) and R.J. Miller (drums) as well as the French banjo and guitar player Pierre Perchaud. The new work will be rehearsed and recorded in Paris and performed at venues in New York City and Boston. The composers and full band will also conduct a number of workshops for secondary school students during their tour of the northeastern United States

Larry Ochs with Didier Petit

The East West Collective is a collaboration of Americans Larry Ochs (saxophone) and Miya Masaoka (Japanese koto), Frenchmen Didier Petit (cello, voice) and Sylvain Kassap (clarinet), and the Chinese guzheng player and vocalist Xu Fengxia that combines the compositional structure and sounds of free jazz with traditional Eastern music forms. The project will support three concert engagements at prestigious venues in New York, San Francisco, and Seattle; and five engagements at important French jazz festivals in Brest, Nantes, Paris, Strasbourg, and Tours. The ensemble is also planning a studio recording session while in France.

Sylvain Rifflet with Jon Irabagon

Saxophonist and clarinetist Sylvain Rifflet and his French ensemble members Joce Menniel (flute, electronics), Phil Gordiani (guitar), and Benjamin Flament (percussion, electronics) will work with American saxophonist Jon Irabagon on a project that celebrates the work of the eccentric, yet influential, Blind American composer and street performer Moondog (Louis Hardin 1916-1999). The project will include the composing of new music, a premier of the work at the prestigious Banlieues Bleues Festival outside of Paris, and the recording of a studio album.

William Parker with François Tusques

The cultural threads that connect France with New Orleans and New York will be explored by the French American Peace Ensemble, which is comprised of Americans William Parker (bass), Hamid Drake (drums), and Kidd Jordon (saxophone); and French musicians François Tusques (piano) and Louis Sclavis (bass clarinet, saxophone). Parker will compose a new musical suite for the ensemble, which will be performed at venues in New Orleans, New York and Seattle. The performance at the Vision Festival in New York will be filmed and recorded. Discussions are underway for festival performances in France as well as for a studio recording.

For more information on the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s programs and services, visit Mid Atlantic Arts.

Originally Published