Raphaël Imbert

Raphaël Imbert
A self-taught musician, Raphaël Imbert pursues an atypical path in the great family of jazz and improvised music. A demanding artist and teacher, a sought-after arranger and improviser, one of his favourite areas is the spiritual in jazz.

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 Élangué, 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 Spirit 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…).

Furthermore, 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.

He developed the BACH COLTRANE project with André Rossi and the Quatuor Manfred, an album that sold over 12,000 copies. Since then, in addition to his concerts, he has developed an improvisation method for chamber music ensembles, which he has offered to Musique en Voûtes and ProQuartet.

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 and songwriter Marion Rampal.

Since 2004, Imbert joined as a student the École 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.


Photo credit: Muriel Despiau