My love for jazz started when I saw that jazz had space for the expression of freedom : improvisation. A frame, rules and some space to be free. As I discovered jazz, studying music finally took on all its meaning: we could learn, explore, express ourselves, taste a form of freedom. And beyond the aesthetics specific to jazz and its different stylistic forms, what makes its essence is indeed the freedom it allows. From Duke Ellington to Ornette Coleman, from Charlie Parker to Brad Meldhau, from John Coltrane to Keith Jarrett, beyond differences of style we find this common universe : a taste for freedom, a love for taking off.

Indeed, this freedom we are all looking for and that some find with jazz, needs to be placed in a broader context, the context of life, everyday life, society... As we know, jazz was born out of the meeting between blacks and whites into a non-egalitarian America characterized by slavery, one of the saddest episodes of human history. From this violence, blues was born in order to express the deepest feelings, andin order to taste a form of freedom. Jazz is the continuity and History has made some progress. The forms of jazz as well have developed, but its essence remains the same.

Also, even before this meeting on the soil of the Americas, the germ of blues was already an integral part of the soul of African music. I realize that when I play with a character like Majid Bekkas,his gnawa singing makes me think of the sources of blues music. And similarly, when we play together we let the elements of Mandinka, Arab, gnawa, Indian, Andalusian and jazz music naturally cross, the result being a mixed jazz born from new encounters. This is, in my view, a jazz that has the same essence as the one born in the United States, because even if the form is different, it expresses a powerful groove, it is imbued with blues, it is melodic, playful, it cries out sometimes, it can prove to be joyful or deep, fragile or powerful. But it is lively and free, and above all, it is grounded in the present moment, it is jazz indeed !

In our society controlled by appearances, even the more libertarian forms of expression such as jazz suffer labelling. The conversion of music into a commercial product reinforced the importance of these labels, and the problem we have now is that these labels are everywhere, they are always simplistic and limited to giving a style name where there was originally a meaning. « This is not jazz anymore », this is something that has often been read or heard since the ‘40s, every time musicians were making the forms evolve. Inevitable trap of appearances, some did not recognise freedom on the grounds that jazz had changed.

Today jazz has taken many different forms, freedom tries to fit in a variety of styles. It is nothing to be afraid of, as we should not be afraid of the mixing of populations. This is the way humanity evolves, by meeting each other, through exploration, discovery and through this taste for freedom ever renewed. We realize that beyond style, jazz represents a certain attitude towards life. An art of the present. All this put together, the love for improvisation, the need for freedom and its expression, the taste for the present, for meeting others, the ability to integrate the most diverse cultural forms, all this, represents a true philosophy of life, a commitment itself. A commitment of oneself.

In this regard, the essence of jazz – and of improvisation in general – cannot be separated from the consciousness of our freedom, and from the way we position ourselves in relation to it in this world.