From October 21st to 31st, the acclaimed French saxophonist Sylvain Rifflet makes its debut in Latvia and Estonia with his new project Troubadours, combining medieval moods, modal jazz and repetitive music. He passes by Helsinki on October 25th for a duo concert with the Finnish trumpet hero Verneri Pohjola.

Saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, improviser, Sylvain Rifflet is one of the most acclaimed musician of the new generation of French jazz. Constantly searching for the counterfoil and constantly moving in literally opposite directions, Rifflet accomplishes one of his dreams here: integrate influences from medieval music and repetitive music to a modal music project. Here is “Troubadours”, a deluge of musical poetry, romantic courtesies and all illuminated by high-flying minstrelsy.

The idea was not to be in historical accuracy but rather in an imaginative ambition of what poetic music could be today, supported by simple instrumentation: two wind instruments, a drone and a few percussion instruments, Rifflet drew his inspiration from recordings of secular medieval music (often by unknown authors) by ensembles such as Alla Francesca conducted by Brigitte Lesne or Capella de Ministrers, to get as close as possible to his idea of the music of troubadours.

Playing on a mode and building tensions or releases moments over a drone is the basic principle of modal music but also of Indian music, in a very schematic way. “I’ve never recorded a “modal” album and I wanted to try this adventure while making sure to stay as far away as possible from the clichés of the saxophonist who is embarking on modal music. In this case the reference to Coltrane is quite complex to avoid. By turning to a hybrid sound: modal music and Indian instruments playing a pedal point, I had wider and more interesting musical possibilities for this project.”

Sylvain Rifflet Troubadours
Sylvain Rifflet saxophones, clarinets, Shruti-Box
Verneri Pohjola trumpet / Oct 21st-23rd
Fred Roudet trumpet / Oct 27th-31st
Sandrine Marchetti harmonium
Benjamin Flament percussions
Fred Roudet

Troubadours press release Sept 2019

Album review by Anthony Shaw – All About Jazz

Tour program from October 21st to 31st

Latvia in collaboration with the French Institute of Latvia
Wed 21/10 Daugavpils, Théâtre de l’Union
Thu 22/10 Madona, Cultural Centre
Fri 23/10 Cesis, Cesis Concert Hall

Sun 25/10 Helsinki, WHS Teatteri Union / Sylvain Rifflet & Verneri Pohjola
jaZZanti concert serial by Helsinki Jazz

Estonia / presented by Eesti Kontsert, in cooperation with the French Institute of Estonia
Tue 27/10 Pärnu Concert House
Wed 28/10 Tartu, Vanemuise Concert House
Thu 29/10 Võru, Kannel
Fri 30/10 Tallinn Town Hall
Sat 31/10 Jõhvi Concert House

Tour Production: Jazz Musiques Production
Tour booking et tour management: Vapaat äänet

Tour support: Bureau Export, Spedidam
Partner of the tour: Kumu Drums
In the frame of the French Nordic Jazz Transit, export and exchange program of the AJC – Association Jazzé Croisé

Sylvain Rifflet (c) Sylvain Gripoix