Over the course of the last week, I was blessed to share music with truly great musicians: Marc Cary, Marcus Gilmore, Ari Hoenig, Milan Milanović, Or Bareket, Rashaan and Russel Carter. I also produced Etienne Charles new record. Feeling grateful for music!
The Creole Spirits project is now on its way. The residence held in Guadeloupe in April has naturally confirmed the fusion between the musical traditions of Cuba and Haiti that Omar Sosa and I are currently referencing. This first concert at the Centre Culturel de Sonis has been welcome with overwhelming enthusiasm and has taken the audience on a journey within the mystical depths of Voodoo and Santeria. This residence also gave Franck Cassenti the opportunity to catch the first images of his coming documentary about the project, “Retour aux sources” (Back to the roots).
I was just appointed Knight of the Arts: Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres. I love surprises!
I am very proud and happy to announce that Omar Sosa and I are going to present a new joint Creole Spirit musical project. We had many discussions about creating a project together for years: a symbiotic meeting of Haitian and Cuban spiritual traditions, enmeshed in the language of modern jazz.
Fate would put us on the same concert circuit several times, but 24h apart… Finally we appeared on the same stage in Nevers. Omar invited me for 4 songs. The complicity was immediate, almost frighteningly energetic and luminous. After this exchange, it was agreed that the Haiti Cuba project would take priority in our respective agenda, because of the musical potential, as well as the symbolic power of such a concept, both in term of history and identity.
As you probably know, pianist Omar Sosa has become the uncontested leader of a wave Cuban Jazz inspired by the spiritual traditions of Santeria. On my side, after bringing Gwoka-Jazz to stages worldwide, I have turned to Voodoo Jazz with the release of the Jazz Racine Haiti CD.
Historically, Voodoo culture is an essential foundation of modern arts. Originally from the African Kingdom of Dahomey, it spread in the Americas and North Africa, through slavery. Voodoo became the seed for many cultural movements in music and plastic arts. All substantial music in these regions, share the same voodoo roots: Gnawa music in North Africa, Candomble in Brazil, Bata and Santeria in Cuba, Voodoo music in Haiti, and also in Lousiana, where its wide variety of rhythms, dissonances, structures, scales and modes, have set the path for Blues, Jazz and Gospel- with little or no mention of it all.
This summit between Haitian and Cuban spiritual music, under our joint gavel, would display the founding and unifying power of Voodoo music in the Americas and beyond. We will hence share a residence in Guadeloupe the first week of April, and present a first concert at Centre Culturel Sonis in les Abymes (Guadeloupe) on April 4th. The band would be comprised of Moonlight Benjamin (vcls, Haiti), Martha Galarraga (vcls, Cuba), Claude Saturne (perc, Haiti), Gustavo Ovalles (perc, Cuba), Omar (pno) and I (sax).
Following steps will be a performance for the Memorial Act on May 10th in Guadeloupe, a week at the Blue Note in the fall, and eventually to record a CD during the summer for an early 2016 release. All these steps will constitute the basis for a high quality documentary that would be suitable for TV or film festivals. That would entail shooting sequences in Haiti and Cuba as well. That film would cover the making off the music, and tell the story of a fascinating tradition through the people carrying it today…
Le succès de mon projet Jazz Racine Haïti ne se dément pas, et j’en suis particulièrement fier. Cet été, après un passage au festival d’Avignon le mois dernier, je serai à Marciac la semaine prochaine, puis à Ramatuelle et à Limoges. Mais c’est à l’automne que les choses s’accélèrent ! De septembre à janvier, j’aurai le privilège de prsenter Jazz Racine Haïti de Toulouse à Tourcoing, de Saint-Brieuc à Schiltigheim, entre autres. La programmation complète des concerts est à retrouver ici. Notez également que je serai aux Antilles début décembre. Selon les dates, je me produirai ou bien avec le groupe complet de Jazz Racine Haïti, formé (en général) avec Moonlight Benjamin, Alex Tassel, Claude Saturne, Grégory Privat, Stéphane Kerecki, et Sonny Troupé, ou bien avec le Voodoo Jazz Trio, « réduit » à Moonlight Benjamin et Claude Saturne.
Tournée automne/hiver 2014/2015 : 10 octobre – Château-Arnoux ; 15 octobre – Tourcoing ; 24 octobre – Toulouse ; 15 novembre – Nevers ; 3 décembre – Schiltigheim ; 6 décembre – Saint-Brieuc ; 21 janvier 2015 – Tulle.
My show has been ranked in the 10 best jazz shows in NYC this month by the Village Voice! Great! Can’t wait to see you there!
French press has been seduced by Jazz Racine Haïti, and has warmly welcomed this new album. Morceaux choisis!
“In the 21st century, there is no better news for jazz music than Jacques Schwarz-Bart: A sound like a messenger of the Gods, a loyalty to the rhythms, an incandescent furor, a flexibility of melodies played right.” – Le Monde, Francis Marmande
“One of the most beautiful albums of the last decade, Jazz Racine Haiti is a vivid expression of ancestral memory, invention, dream, and prodigious lyricism.” – L’humanité, Fara C.
“Free, creative, emotional, JSB’s writing redefines voodoo ritual chants to give them there true status: they are the opera of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora.” – Marianne, Frédérique Briard
“If this music is a celebration, it is one of osmosis, of shivering mysteries and of mystical quest. And if it’s jazz, it is the best.” – Jazz News, Christian Larrède
“On the tenor saxophone, Brother Jacques has reached a sovereign maturity, where intensity and relaxation mix, half way between Coltrane and Dexter Gordon.” – Jazz Magazine, Stéphane Olivier
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Télérama, Jazz News, TSF, France Inter, RFI et bien d’autres ont été touchés par Jazz Racine Haïti. J’en suis fier et honoré ! L’album est dans les bacs, et je vous attends au New Morning le 7 mars prochain. A très vite !!
Christiane Taubira became a hero of mine when she passed the Law -named after her- that acknowledged slavery as a crime against humanity in 2001. She was then a member of the French Congress.
I was so touched to see her at my first official concert as a band leader in Paris in 2006… Later I kept seeing her at my gigs without exchanging more than warm greetings. But we became friends while participating together to a radio show about the passing of the great Edouard Glissant. Her rise as Minister of Justice hasn’t changed this rich and spontaneous dialogue between us.
Je suis honoré d’avoir partagé ce moment avec une héroine des droits de l’homme, et aussi la personnalité la plus brillante du paysage politique actuel, à l’occasion de la sortie de mon nouveau disque: Jazz Racine Haiti.
I was honored to share this moment with a true hero of human rights, and also the most brilliant personality of the modern political landscape, to talk about my new CD: Jazz Racine Haiti.