Sun March 10, 2019

Nguyên Lê Quartet 'Streams' (F/CAN/USA)

Nguyên Lê: guitar
Illya Amar: vibraphone
Chris Jennings: bass
John Hadfield: drums, percussion

STREAMS is a new quartet initiated by Paris-based guitarist Nguyên Lê and dedicated to creating new sounds rooted in ancient cultures. Its goal is to explore the multiple dimensions of cross-breeding Jazz and Indigenous Music, as a fertile ground for composition and improvisation. Not for any exotic effect, but for a deep need of coherent and contemporary expression. Streams of very different cultures are moving the world and we want our music to acknowledge and express it.

Every musician in the band has been deeply involved in Jazz and Indigenous music: Nguyên Lê was born in Paris from Vietnamese parents. Starting from a Jazz background, he has been leading & participated to many projects about Vietnam, North and West Africa, the West Indies, Turkey, India, Japan, and Korea for the last 20 years. New York based drummer John Hadfield was brought up within the Jazz tradition of Kansas City with Bobby Watson and has traveled extensively to India, Peru, Mongolia, the Middle East, and Indonesia to learn the rhythms and instruments of each of these cultures.

Based in Paris, Canadian double-bassist Chris Jennings has established himself with Dhafer
Youssef, Karim Ziad, Bojan Z, Kudsi Erguner or 'El Gusto' Algerian Chaabi orchestra. French Vibraphone player Illya Amar collaborated with musicians from India, Argentina, Vietnam,
Brazil, and is currently working on arrangements of Jewish music. While becoming an internationally acclaimed and sought after Jazz musician, over the years Nguyên Lê has engaged in numerous arrangements of folk music from a variety of countries. In the process, he grew as a musician, discovering each ethnic idiosyncrasy like a treasure. As a result, his identity as a Jazz musician became more and more unique and special. Collaborating with indigenous musicians definitely transformed his music and his spirit. The leading idea behind the new Streams quartet is to focus on personal compositions fed by the transformative experiences he underwent during this cross-breeding process. In doing so, he is also coming back to one of the foundations of Jazz music, which was born through several journeys of cultures, from African ritual music to American Blues & from French harmonic impressionism to Bebop harmony.

STREAMS love Claude Debussy and Béla Bartók, because they are masters of the integration of folk elements in their own composing, eventually resulting in their utterly unique & distinctive music. Another crucial goal for the project is to deepen the teamwork with collaborating partner John Hadfield by writing music together for the band, sharing and confronting ideas, knowledge, and inspirations.

A new world of inspirations is opening between tradition and modernity, East and West, North and South. This band is about encounters between Jazz and Indigenous music, Paris and New York, but also between generations. Music is one the best homes for individuals of different generations to meet and act together. Finally, a more philosophical goal would be to show that music is the ultimate language of peace. When different cultures respect one other and learn from one other, beauty and friendships can emerge. In that sense, Jazz is the best music to establish cross-cultural dialogues, because it has always been the most adaptive and open form of music. (Pressetext)