The Sound and me #14 with Géraldine Laurent

The Sound and me #14 avec Géraldine Laurent
The French saxophonist Géraldine Laurent, awarded at the Victoires du Jazz 2020 for her album Cooking, wonders about her relationship with the sound...


The issue of the inner ear

"My sound references in relation to the instrument, were ultimately shaped a lot by the saxophone, but also by other instruments, by the trumpet, by jazz trumpeters and singers, but especially female jazz singers and in particular Ella Fitzgerald, because I find that she has a purity of sound… It is as if there were no barrier between her unconscious and what comes out of her body with incredible accuracy.

And, anyway, the sound that we actually produce is an issue of the inner ear, meaning that we have already internalized a maximum number of references, and so, the instrument will just enable us to bring out what we have, ultimately, already conceptualized internally."

A tenor sound

"I've often been told that I have a bit of a tenor sound on the alto. Maybe because I've listened to a lot more tenor saxophonists than alto players, but at the same time, there is a certain balance... Maybe because on the saxophone I also ended up working more on the low notes rather than the high, but these create the atmosphere of sounds, which I really enjoy. And ultimately, I like that blend… That woody aspect, that's what draws me in to the sound the part that's a little… round… So, with the contribution of the bass, that's obviously, somewhat generous, and without tension or pressure, there really is a kind of clarity in the sound."

The vibrato

"During my initial years of learning, my teacher always told me: 'Be careful, don't do vibrato because in fact it's easier to do vibrato than not to do it. And in the end, won't that distance you from a particular sound? Imagine if you spoke all the time with vibrato, or if when you sang, you added vibrato all the time. Is vibrato not an attempt to hide something, perhaps a difficulty or a fear of producing something honest, with no frills? So, try to "fight" not to do vibrato so that the sound begins and ends.'

Then the vibrato will be important to finish, because the sound is vibration. The vibrato is of course an almost natural function, but one that is very complicated, Just like sentences when we speak, it is about starting a sound and finishing it. That is, indeed, the tricky part. How can you finish a sound? I try to reach a certain purity, because they are references to nature, and references to vocals. I mean, a sound must begin and must finish, not exactly cleanly, not at all, simply with something that is heard and is intelligible as an end to something, which ultimately, must be as beautiful as the beginning."


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