For years on end, we have been warned against the
abuse of alcohol, tobacco or gambling. But we have
never been informed against the dangers of improvisation.
And yet improvisation is a high risk activity.
For the musician as well as for the listener.
The listener had better consume moderately if he
wants to make the best of the music he is discovering.
I think this recording must not be heard all at once.
It is not like a thriller when you long to turn the page to
know what is coming next...
It is more like a collection of short stories, memories of
people or places I love or have loved.
The adventure, imagined by Jean-Marie Salhani,
was proposed to me when I had just decided to close
down my piano with the firm intention to do no more
recordings, nor to perform in public again. As you can
see, I accepted to play the game...
With no special preparation except physical, just as
before a concert. The rule consisted in improvising
some twenty preferably short tunes, inspired me by a
name or a few words written down on 52 little squares
of paper hidden away in a hat. All I had to do was close
my eyes and pick out one of these little bits of paper
which were to serve as starting point.
On discovering the contents of each little piece of
paper fished out of the hat, I felt like saying a few
words, to explain whom or what I was thinking about
as I played. After the recording, I had the weakness
(or just the simple curiosity) to read all the little papers
that I had not opened. And I discovered many names
that mean a lot to me that I had not been able to set
to music : André Hodeir, Lucky Starway, Club Saint-
Germain, Aimé Barelli, Lucky Thompson, Village
Vanguard, Marius Constant, Zoé Solal, Newdecaband,
and many others...
Let alone those that were not written on any of those
bits of paper and that have been just as indispensable
to my life ! Fate, with the help of my producer and
friend, decided for me...
All was recorded in one single take, which might
explain certain repetitions and the unbridled or hasty
impression… I played just the same way I would do at
home, in the morning, just rambling around the keys.
Actually, my neighbours hardly get the right to anything