Clarinetist and saxophonist with a dazzling technique forged in the demanding school of Western classical music; refined concert and chamber musician (great specialist of Mozart and Schumann), but also, simultaneously, propagator inspired by free jazz and free improvisation throughout the 70s within his Unit; privileged interpreter of the great masters of contemporary music (Boulez, Stockhausen, Berio) and composer himself, notably for the cinema (Comolli, Oshima...). ); solitary adventurer of jazz in all its forms, regenerating his energy in a never-satiated bulimia of encounters in all directions (from Bernard Lubat to Martial Solal, via Joachim Kühn, Joey Baron, Jack DeJohnette, Richard Galliano, Bojan Z, the list is endless ...) — Michel Portal, unable to fix himself (to a style, a genre, a group...) has never considered music otherwise than as the intimate space of maximum danger, fearing nothing as much as repeating today what was conceived and played the day before. This is no doubt why, having definitively entered the legend of French and European music, Portal is not an institution at all.
A phoenix always reborn, populated by all the music that over the years has passed through him, jostled, constituted, the clarinetist, whatever the context in which he performs, from the absolute solo to the quintet more in line with the standards of jazz formations, persists in making his art the experience of an uncovering where each time he feels his limits and reinvents himself.
In continuous metamorphosis, his music is inimitable, lyrical, inhabited, open to flows and migrations - definitely nomadic in that it does not care about borders, does not even transgress them, contenting itself with superbly ignoring them - is undoubtedly not the kind of music on which schools are based. Too free. Too elusive. On the other hand, it falls into the rare category of artistic expression of this half-century that has best grasped the radical instability and unpredictability of our ephemeral existences. This makes it all the more precious.
As far back as he can remember, Michel Portal has never considered music as anything other than a devouring passion to which to devote himself body and soul in the hope of escaping the terrible boredom of human life.
Photo Credit : Jean-Marc Lubrano