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YANNICK RIEU

Yannick Rieu

Recognized as one of the most talented jazz saxophonists in the world, Yannick Rieu is the recipient of the 18th Oscar Peterson Award, acknowledging his outstanding musicianship and exceptional contribution to the development of Canadian jazz. His music is best defined by its constant evolution.

The press around the world is full of praise for him. In 1988, Downbeat magazine (New York) placed him alongside saxophonists such as Brandford Marsalis and Joe Lovano in a “critics poll”. Others compare his playing to that of Stan Getz or Lee Konitz (L’Express, Toronto).

The Journal de Montréal (Canada) calls him “One of the world’s 20 best jazz saxophone players” or still “Canada’s greatest jazz poet” (Jazzman, France)

“He sounds like a mixture of Tony Malaby or Chris Potter’s muscular playing with a hint of mid-60s Sonny Rollins lyricism.” (The Jazz Clinic, USA)

Where does Yannick Rieu really stand? The answer is complex. “He has the ability to evoke the roar and fury of life as well as the tenderness and exquisite delight of our existence. ” (Stanley Péan, Radio Canada).

“Contextually neither expressionist nor impressionist, avant-gardist nor neo-conservative, Yannick Rieu instead inhabits a middle ground, where inspiration is motivated by individual concern, a private vision. The choice he has made mark him as a musician of thoughtful gesture and singular craft.” (Art Lange, New York)

“Bruno Monsaingeon once said that Glenn Gould’s genius was to give each auditor the seemingly miraculous ability to decipher Bach’s music. Yannick Rieu is endowed with the same gift: to hear him think out loud his interior musical self is to experience the exhilarating sensation of being able to speak the jazz idiom ourselves.” (L’Express, Toronto)

Yannick Rieu leaves no one indifferent. Through his acoustic and electronic projects, he tackles music from multiple angles, while improvisation remains the cornerstone of his artistry. Always intense and intuitive, he plays tenor and soprano saxophone, obeying his own philosophy, without any compromise. As a creative artist, he constantly aims at giving sense to his music.

Yannick Rieu – Symbiosis

An innovative creation inspired by the musical universe of Brahms

In this project, Yannick Rieu draws inspiration from the spirit of Brahms, while transcending the limits of his harmonic and formal language. The specter of Johannes Brahms, a major figure of musical romanticism, fuels Rieu’s themes, also giving rise to spontaneous exchanges, essential characteristics of jazz. “Symbiosis” thus embodies the desire to merge seemingly disparate styles, highlighting the link between lyricism and musical narration. This approach offers a poetic vision of Yannick Rieu, exploring musical fusion and reinterpreting the legacy of Brahms in the light of contemporaneity.

Recognized as one of the most talented saxophonists on the world scene, 18th recipient of the Oscar Peterson Prize which highlights the quality of his art and his exceptional contribution to the development of Canadian jazz, Yannick Rieu is one of those musicians in constant evolution. The press around the world is full of praise for him. In 1988, Downbeat magazine (New York) placed him alongside saxophonists such as Brandford Marsalis and Joe Lovano during a “critics poll”. Others compare his game to that of Stan Getz or even Chris Potter (L’Express, Canada). The Journal de Montréal (Canada) describes him as “one of the 20 best blowers in the world” or even “the greatest poet of Canadian jazzmen.” (Jazzman, France).

Symbiosis : Liner Notes by Stanley Péan

Symbiosis is defined as a lasting and mutually beneficial association between living organisms. The term seems quite appropriate to describe the relationship that links saxophonist and composer Yannick Rieu to his interlocutors, and even to the music itself, which should be considered as a being in its own right. Hence the relevance of the title of this new album of original works recorded with a quartet of hand-picked musicians: pianist Jonathan Cayer, double bassist Rémi-Jean Leblanc and drummer Louis-Vincent Hamel. All four are leaders on their respective instruments, and all four are a tad younger than Rieu, who inevitably acts as a mentor.

“We should earn university credits for playing with him,” guitarist François Jalbert and pianist Jérôme Beaulieu, who toured with Rieu for a time, once told me in an interview. At the risk of offending the man’s modesty, we have to admit there’s a certain veracity to this remark, which is less far-fetched than one might suppose. Three-time laureate of the Félix award for Jazz Record of the Year, and winner of the 2006 Oscar Peterson Prize awarded by the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal to a Canadian artist for his outstanding contribution to jazz, the veteran saxophonist has been drawing a very personal trajectory since his emergence on the music scene, drawing generations of artists from near and far in his wake.

Aimez-vous Brahms.., asked Françoise Sagan with just two suspension rather than a question mark, via the title of her novel published in 1959 and brought to screen two years later. After listening to the compositions on Symbiosis, which follow one another like the movements of a suite, we can well imagine Yannick Rieu answering the French novelist’s question in the affirmative. Because the spectre of Johannes Brahms, a German composer considered one of the most important of the Romantic period, does indeed haunt the themes proposed by the saxophonist to his partners as a framework for those impromptu conversations without which there is no jazz. The seven tracks of this opus, on which Rieu more than ever reveals the depth of his lyricism, sketch a nuanced portrait of the man considered Beethoven’s successor in a resolutely jazz aesthetic. Besides, not surprising that the musical piece closing the ensemble is entitled “From Hamburg to Vienna.”

To quote Chicago jazz essayist and critic Art Lange, “Contextually neither expressionist nor impressionist, avant-gardist nor neo-conservative, Yannick Rieu instead inhabits a middle ground, where inspiration is motivated by individual concern, a private vision.” As the music on this album suggests, this “musician of thoughtful gesture and singular craft “(again, according to Lange) has the immense merit of systematically positioning himself where you don’t really foresee.

In short, with Yannick Rieu, you can always expect the unexpected.

That’s the stamp of any jazz artist worthy of the name, you might say. Above all, it’s the mark of a true creator.

Stanley Péan
Writer and music enthusiast
www.stanleypean.com

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