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Power Twins Unite: Francois and Louis Moutin

By Published: March 3, 2004
On top of that, as twin brothers, we could share this and play with it like kids play. Having fun and that’s it. Then, when growing up, we discovered one jazz artist after another, one “jazz-style” after another, following the actual chronology of the historical creation of this music. So we could clearly see the tradition of jazz as pushing each artist to bring his “thing” as a part of the whole process. That made us more and more involved.

AAJ:Were you always both equally interested in playing?

LM: Yes.

AAJ: Francois spoke about how important it was that your parents took you to see live jazz when you were young. Do you agree? How is live jazz different from recorded jazz?

LM: I agree, of course. The difference as a player is obvious to me. When playing live, I’m not only connected with the other players, but also with the energy of the audience. I can physically feel it. It’s very exiting.

It’s also true as an audience member. You share and exchange directly the emotions with people around you (musicians on stage or other audience members).

But this is not to say that live is better than records. Jazz became what it is also because of the invention of the recording technology. I mean that improvisation has always existed in music. But the 20th century made possible that a musical improv created with three people in the room, can be listened to by thousands (millions?) of persons. This changed the music.

AAJ: Francois spoke a little about the current French scene, and the history of jazz in France. Could you give me your perspective? Is there a difference between French jazz and American jazz?

LM: About the history of jazz in France, let’s just say that jazz has been important to this country in many ways since the twenty’s. There are a lot of great jazz players in France, and that makes a real French jazz scene.

To me, you can find stylistic differences from an artist to another artist. It’s less obvious from a country to another country, since there is not ONE American jazz or ONE European jazz or ONE French jazz. I mean that style belongs to the artists more than to the countries.

AAJ: Francois explained that after he came to New York you visited him and enjoyed the New York jazz scene, but were unable to move because of family commitments. Did it effect your playing to be separate from Francois after having played together for so many years?

LM: Being a twin brother is something really special, from a psychological point of view. To be physically separate from François for a few years helped me to get more self-confidence. In that way, it changed something in my playing.

AAJ: I spoke with Francois a little about your childhood. I asked him what was the worst thing he ever did to you when you were kids. To be fair, I'll ask you the same question. What was the worst trick you ever played on Francois?

LM: No comment.

AAJ: You began as a pianist. What made you choose the drums? What about drumming made you focus on the instrument?

LM: I felt that I was gifted for drumming.

AAJ: Were there any particular drummers who inspired you?

LM: Elvin Jones, Tony Williams....

AAJ: I know Francois was at university for physics. Did you study sciences as well?

LM: Yes, I studied math and physics as well. For music I’m totally self-taught, like François.

AAJ: What do you do in your free time?

LM: I try to keep some free time for my family. But, this expression, free time, sounds strange to me since I feel free even when I’m working.

Visit the Moutin Brothers on the web at .

Related links:
Sunnyside Records
Dreyfus Jazz

AAJ Reviews:
Moutin Reunion Quartet: Red Moon (Sunnyside, 2004) 1 | 2
Moutin Reunion Quartet: Power Tree (Dreyfus, 2002) 1 | 2

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