After the success of the opus Mechanics for which he had received a Victoire du Jazz in 2016, then his tribute to Stan Getz (Re Focus, 2017), his hypnotic ode to the music of the ancient poets of love (Troubadours, 2019) and his project around speeches of revolt (Rebellions, 2021), Sylvain Rifflet is back with a more personal work: Aux Anges.
Aux Anges is an ode to my loves, to my angels, to those human beings, artists or not, who inspire me and help me live. The dreamed drawing of a fountain of youth to which I frequently return to drink to recharge my batteries and cultivate my hobbies. With these quotations and references scattered here and there, Aux Anges is also conceived as a paper chase through my artistic intimacy."
This album, which the artist considers to be his most accomplished, is dedicated to his loved ones, his "angels", and to the personalities who have influenced and nourished him. We find references to American composers Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Philip Glass, but also Moondog, to the singer, composer and activist Abbey Lincoln, to saxophonists Stan Getz and Jon Irabagon, to filmmaker Claude Sautet, or to novelist James Baldwin.
How did the idea for this album come about?
"I wanted to record again with Benjamin Flament and Philippe Gordiani and I wanted to confront them with the incredible sound of my favorite trumpet player, the Finnish Verneri Pohjola. I know all three of them very well having recorded and toured with them for over 10 years now."
Is there anyone in particular that you would dream of playing with?
"That's quite a question! I'm lucky enough to play with some amazing musicians and have a lot of freedom in the projects I'm doing. I have been able to record with musicians who seemed inaccessible to me a few years ago... So I don't really feel frustrated! I would love to play with Arve Henriksen, Marc Ribot, Christian Wallumrod, Matthieu Michel, Henri Texier and many others... But nothing says that I won't realize these desires one day!"
What inspired you to learn the saxophone?
"I started after seeing the movie Bird about Charlie Parker and I thought I really wanted to play this instrument and play this music... I had been playing piano since I was 5 years old and I really wasn't attracted to the instrument!"
What is your relationship with your instrument?
"I try to find a way to play it without aggressiveness, without violence, in continuity with my body, in flexibility. It's not always easy and it seems to me that I am more and more obliged to keep myself in shape by doing sports so that it remains a real pleasure. The confinement has allowed me to work intensively again and it made me feel great, I have progressed a lot and I feel that I can still evolve."
Is there any music that you listen to on a loop?
"Surprisingly enough, I don't listen to much music outside of the time I work. In the morning I listen to France Culture (radio), and in the evening too! It helps me stay connected with the world of ideas, opinions and I try not to be a musician outside the city, I think we need to stay anchored in life, and right now, more than ever!"
Any short or medium term projects?
"Plenty! A series of concerts with Rebellions right now, then some concerts around Moondog's music, an electronic music project in duo with Philippe Gordiani that we will play at La Gare (in Paris in the 19th district) every Sunday between April and June.
I'm already thinking about my next album, I have several tracks, I don't know yet which one I will choose.
And then concerts with Aux anges and also with my program around Stan Getz with the wonderful Célia Kaméni, a string quartet, Nelson Veras, Pascal Schumacher, Airelle Besson, Julien Lourau (whom I love!) Florent Nisse and Ziv Ravitz.
In short, great things to come!"