36th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 12-16 October, 2022
Andy Emler trio (France):

Andy Emler - p;
Claude Tchamitchian - db;
Eric Echampard - dr.

Andy Emler Trio teams up three distinguished French jazz personalities, who equipped with traditional and non-traditional means pioneer new musical territories.

In their compositions, brimming with unexpected turns and twists, traditional piano trio acquires a new form; their refreshing and intriguing music fuses elements of traditional jazz and rock, contemporary academic music and world music, lush melody and strict rhythm.

This sophisticated cocktail is saturated with elegance, and at the same time very genuine and bold.

Andy Emler Trio’s appearance at the Vilnius Jazz jubilee festival is a kind of déjà-vu. We have heard two members of the Trio in the past – Claude Tchamitchian appeared in the festival nine years ago (the bassist has played with Claude Barthelemy-Daunik Lazro Quartet at the Vilnius Jazz’98), and last year Lithuanian jazz aficionados were dazzled by the virtuoso performance of Eric Echampard, a young French jazz drummer with Marc Ducret Trio. This time we will also get to know the Trio’s leader Andy Emler, the luminary of French jazz.

Pianist, composer, arranger, teacher and outstanding leader Andy Emler (b. 1958) is a resourceful composer and spontaneous improviser, enthusiastic initiator of a range of musical meetings, extraordinarily active musician always busy with various projects – from solo and duo performances to MegaOctet. Andy Emler is also widely acclaimed as a composer. His compositions are marked by formal logic and unexpected approach. As a performer, Andy Emler feels at home on both keyboards/synthesisers and acoustic piano; his performance reveals his academic schooling with excellent technique and colourful touch.

Andy Emler started playing piano at tender age; studied piano, music theory, harmony, counterpoint, instrumentation and composition at the Paris Conservatoire. While still a student he started playing jazz as a duo with vibraphonist Antoine Herve. Not before long he also formed quintet, which featured self-taught guitarist Marc Ducret among others. In 1986, he joined the French National Jazz Orchestra (Francois Orchestra national De Jazz) and having written few compositions for this orchestra has earned recognition as a composer. In 2006, for his compositions Andy Emler was awarded annual jazz prize Django d’Or.

In 1990, Andy Emler formed eccentric MegaOctet, which became his creative laboratory where Emler practises his alchemy of musical styles, fusing hard-bop and electric funk, academic and Spanish music, rock’n’roll and ethnic music. In this formation the versatile leader finds the way to reveal his qualities as a leader, composer and performer in various formations. In 1992, MegaOctet was recognised as the best French jazz ensemble and earned Django d’Or.

Andy Emler collaborates with Daniel Humair, Nguyên Lê, Marc Ducret, Michel Portal, Joachim Kühn, Trilok Gurtu, Gebhard Ullmann and Pascal Contet.

Andy Emler is a true music adventurer. He does not hesitate to employ various elements in his music – from Scandinavian tradition to rock and funk; his creative interests have harvested such projects as Tribute to Frank Zappa, Pop Music 2000, project for MegaOctet, 2 dancers and video artist. Claude Tchamitchian and Eric Echampard partner Andy Emler not only in Emler Trio, but also MegaOctet.

Double bassist Claude Tchamitchian (b. 1960) is praised for his tuneful and inventive, suggestive and hypnotic, versatile and graceful music in which he does not subscribe to clichés, but constantly searches for his own voice. His exceptionally rich double bass is strikingly flexible and expressive. In his free improvisations he reveals himself as a true expert of jazz traditions.

Although he was born in a family of musicians and was surrounded by music from very early age, his heart was not set on music for quite a long time. He got interested in jazz after experiencing shock from John Coltrane’s and Albert Ayler’s music. Having started his professional career as a self-taught musician, Tchamitchian turned to musical education only when he turned 20 – studied under Joseph Fabre at the Avignon Conservatoire, where in 1989 he made his first recordings.

Since 1991, Tchamitchian has been recording solo albums, since 1992, performing as a soloist. Like Andy Emler, having got interested in large avant-garde ensembles, in 1993 he formed Lousadzak septet, which in 1998 grew into Grand Lousadzak orchestra (featured on Basma Suite) and several years later – into Acoustic Lousadzak, involving 18 musicians. In addition, the double bassist collaborates with small groups, as well as with Jimmy Giuffre, Joe McPhee, Louis Sclavis, Linda Sharrock, Yves Robert, Andre Jaume and François Corneloup among other French musicians.

Claude Tchamitchian is a co-founder of Emouvance label; he also teaches, composes for dance and theatre, takes part in choreographic and literary projects, productions for children; performs contemporary music.

Drummer Eric Echampard (b. 1970) is admired for his precision, suggestiveness and elegance, and at the same time prodigious drive and creativity.

Penchant to drumming since childhood, as an adolescent he got interested in jazz and improvisation. He studied classical and contemporary percussion at the Lyon Conservatoire. Eric Echampard started his professional career in 1991, when he joined Jacques Di Donato Quintet. Shortly after, the drummer started collaborating with Louis Sclavis, Marc Ducret, Philippe Deschepper, François Jeanneau, and Michel Eddelin. In the mid-nineties he took part in Systeme Friche, a large ensemble of improvisers managed by Jacques Di Donato and Xavier Charles , performed in ORJA big band and Bernard Strubber orchestra. Recently, Eric Echampard has worked with Michel Pertal Quartet, Marc Ducret Trio, Andy Emler Trio and MegaOctet, and in 2001 has formed a widely acclaimed duo with Finish accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen.

© Jūratė Kučinskaitė

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