Born in 1974, Raphaël Imbert grew up in an artistic background. At the age of 15, he discovered the saxophone. It was love at first sight.
Self-taught, he registered for the CNR jazz class in Marseilles, taught by Pilippe Renault, and met the regional musicians he plays with the most regularly (Emile Atsas, Jean-Luc Difraja, Vincent Lafont, Pierre Fenichel…). With Jean-Jacques Elangué, he wins the first prize at the Conservatoire (music school), and starts two bands, the Hemle Orchestra and the Atsas Imbert Consort, with which he will play in many festivals ( Vienne, Nice, Fiesta des Suds in Marseilles, Théâtre des Salins…).
Having rubbed shoulders with these musicians, he enjoys composing in eclectic musical situations. More personally, he develops his own vision of music and jazz, linked to the specific spitituality of jazz creation. To this end, he creates the “Nine Spirits” to play the sacred musics by Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Albert Ayler and others, and to realize shows inspired by evocative texts, using narration as a musical element per se (they will play to Théodore Monod, Amidou Hampatê Bâ, Martin Luther King…).
On the other hand, he develops a project of study of the sacred in jazz, and becomes laureate of the Medicis Villa Prize Outside The Walls. In 2002, he created the collective L’Enclencheur (in motion), with other musicians, sociologists, journalists, music lovers, to defend a project of reflexion integrating jazz playing into a wider vision of society.
He now teaches at the Conservatoire in Marseilles. He has been a member of the board of the Orchestre National de jazz since september 2004 and, in June 2005, he won the 28th National Jazz Contest of La Défense in Paris. Raphaël Imbert composes also for movies and television, for Philippe Carrese’s and Isabelle Boni-Claverie’s projects.
In 2005, Nine Spirit became the Nine Spirit Company, administrative and artistic structure to develop his ideas and those of associated artists, such as singer / songwriter Marion Rampal. Since 2004, Imbert joined as a student Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), under the direction of Jean Jamin, and as such has been commissioned for a research in the southern of USA, for the IMPROTECH project, funded by the ANR, in partnership with CNRS, IRCAM and the LAHIC.
The 'Reference 36' features a rich and open tone, in the wake of the 'Balanced Action' made from 1936 onwards.