Louis Sclavis: Maps of the Mind

Ian Patterson By

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While Sclavis doesn't lack fight, he also remains utterly realistic regarding the sociopolitical and socioeconomic climate in which musicians—like everybody else—have to work. "Twenty years ago, the political and social situation was very different," says Sclavis. "We thought that the future would be better, and today everybody knows that the future will be worse," he says, laughing. "Today, the mentality is that everybody is a little bit afraid to lose their job, and the arts situation is connected directly to the political and social situation. We are not in the clouds in the sky. We are in the reality, and the reality today— especially in Europe—is very bad. The promoters are also in this world, and there is less and less money from governments in all of Europe in the arts. In France, the government has cut almost 25 percent in the arts. The situation is quite difficult, so I think we have to fight some years more."

Louis Sclavis L'Affrontements des pretendentsAfter 40 years composing for duos, clarinet trios and jazz quartets, after decades exploring improvisation, composing for cinema and multimedia projects, the question arises: what musical ambitions remain for Sclavis? "I am ambitious when I meet new musicians," Sclavis explains. "I want to continue this trio but in a new project with the percussionist Keyvan Chemirani, an Iranian classical percussionist. We did a concert with him this year, and it was very good.

"I never have big project ambitions," expands Sclavis. "I don't dream of playing with 30 musicians or anything like that. I just need to meet one musician, and if it's a good one at the right time, for me, it's perfect. Not only musicians, because I work a lot with comedians, with writers, and I also do photography. I have a new exhibition in September with my photos, and I am quite excited about this. My father was a photographer, so I've been into photography since I was born. It's like composing music, for me," he explains. "The last two ECM CDs, Sources and Lost on the Way, are my photos. I am very proud to have my own photos on ECM covers."

As with every other project Sclavis has turned his hand to, photography presents another challenge, another leap into the unknown. "It's something new for me. Perhaps I am more proud of this than the music," Sclavis says, laughing. He's probably kidding, but who knows? They'd have to be some damned good photographs, that's for sure.

Selected Discography

Louis Sclavis Atlas Trio, Sources (ECM, 2012)
Jean-Pierre Drouet/Fred Frith/Louis Sclavis, Contretemps etc (In Situ, 2011)
Louis Sclavis/Craig Taborn/Tom Rainey, Eldorado Trio (Clean Feed) (2011)
Majid Bekkas, Makenba (Igloomondo, 2011)
Louis Sclavis, Lost On The Way (ECM, 2009)
Aki Takase/Louis Sclavis, Yokohama (INTACT, 2009)
Louis Sclavis, L'imparfait des Langues (ECM, 2007)
Aldo Romano/Louis Sclavis/Henri Texier, \African Flashback (Label Bleu, 2005)
Louis Sclavis, L'affrontement des Pretendants (ECM, 2004)
Dave Douglas/Louis Sclavis/Peggy Lee/Dylan Van Der Schyff, Bow River Falls (Premonition, 2004)
Louis Sclavis, Napoli's Walls (ECM, 2002)
Louis Sclavis, Dans La Nuit (ECM, 2002)
Aldo Romano/Louis Sclavis/Henri Texier, Suite Africaine (Label Bleu, 1999)
Louis Sclavis/Bernard Struber Jazztet, Le Phare (Enja, 1998)
Louis Sclavis, Acoustic Quartet (ECM, 1994)
Klaus Konig Orchestra, At the End of the Universe: Hommage a Douglas Adams (Enja, 1991)
Louis Sclavis, Chamber Music (Label Bleu, 1990)
Cecil Taylor Orchestra, ALMS/TIERGARTEN (SPREE) (FMP, 1988)
Peter Brotzmann Clarinet Project, Berlin Djungle (FMP, 1987)
Louis Sclavis, Clarienttes (IDA, 1985)
Henri Texier Quartet, La Companera (Label Bleu, 1983)
Chris McGreggor's Brotherhood Of Breath, Yes Please (In And Out, 1981)
Jean Bulcato/Louis Sclavis, Champ de Frigg (ARFI, 1979)
Le Marvelous Band, Ibijau (L'Oiseau Musicien, 1977)
Le Marvelous Band, Chant Libre (Move, 1975)

Photo Credits
Page 1: Christophe Alary

Page 2: Olivier Degen/ECM Records
Page 3: Klaus Muempfer

Page 4: Courtesy Desdemicadiera.com

Page 5: Courtesy of Le Triton
About Louis Sclavis
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