When one enters the Atelier de Musiques Improvisés de Haute-Provence, below the village post office, one is shocked by the design of the building, where the workshop space is directly open to the recording studio, allowing a continuous back and forth from one to the other, not without decorating it with a kitchen and area For catering, with a bar overlooking a theater area of modest human proportions, necessarily humane.
“The technical skills to run the studio are now in the hands of my son, Anthony SolerHe is also a drummer, and in the son of a singer Oliver’s nightmare. They really trained, in both audio and video recording and audio recording techniques. Thanks to them, the label was able to climb. Initially we hit our first two-track DAT record, with good mics, in this particular room. I suggested to Andre Jaume to register with me. He already had a poster distributed by Harmonia Mundi, which ended up getting rid of the little posters. Then we made the Hymnesses CD which worked very well and this way we were able to set up the Durance Label. »
He was born in 1964 to a family of returnees from Algeria in La Seine-sur-Mer, this then working-class city near Toulon, Alan Soler He is more than just a guitarist. Ever since he discovered Bill Evans, at the age of twenty, he has been handing out blue notes. To better understand the interactions between group components, he studies in particular the piano, bass, and drums. It was after completing his studies in a jazz class at the Marseille Conservatory, and he still runs it Jay Longon  who founded it in 1964, expended tremendous energy in what became his artistic “living environment”, the improvised music workshop, in Château-Arnoux-Saint-Auban, a village in the Alpes de Haute-Provence – one of the few cities in France to have a peaceful monument for war. The structure on which it was inspired consists of three entities: a recording studio, adjacent to the structure of artistic production and educational development, Atelier des Musiques Improvisés, and a discography publishing label, Label Durance.
In 1989, I taught a little jazz and contemporary music at the village’s social and cultural center. I felt like a little crook. But I loved Bill Evans. The director of the future Simone Signoret Cultural Center at the time asked me who I wanted to play with and I answered Tots Thillmans. This is how it went. So I had the opportunity to play with someone who worked with Bill Evans on the album “Affinity”. There was also, on this disc, Larry Schneider who was coming here later. We started with five members and now we’re three hundred.” Joe Lovanowill join the creative adventure of the album in 1993. Indeed, a recording studio was quickly set up, which made it possible to get a mirror: “You play, you play poorly, you play well, you hear! »
Then comes the time of institutionalization, with administrative and even pedagogical controls, but also with various and varied recognitions.
“Due to the circumstances we had to separate. We had checks for a year and a half by the fraud prevention service, so much so that we sent the free jazz recordings to the National Show Fund!” Researchers, regional project leaders or even Agnes Varda are interested in local dynamics, where no coordination is coordinated Something really, despite the administrative pressure to try to fit this creative lab into institutional boxes, is a challenge to say the least: ‘Here we are, she’s lavender! This is what our man said.
Establishment takes place in rural areas without much difficulty. “I am very politicized, which allows me to have a constructive dialogue with elected officials, for example, because I always affirm my convictions.” AMI will also offer a cultural work course for local elected officials. “We’re not moving forward convincingly: that’s why it works.” Supporting the conglomerate community, in particular, allows the structure not to be dependent on the region or DRAC.
In this Southern Alps that was one of the strongholds of opposition to the coup d’état of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, and which saw poet René Char become one of the chief executives of the Resistance during World War II, Alain Soler shoots all records to include jazz as he understands it in this story.
“First there was a CD with Raphael Imbertwho then lived in Orison, has several titles: “To René Char” . I really wanted there to be poetry, and above all resistance. So I suggested to the poet Michael Yvonnelyricist record for Oliver’s nightmare, to join the adventure of “L’Opéra des Résistances”. I ate the guitar and Cedric Beck Join us on the drums. “The project that echoes the ‘Resistance Chronicles’ released at NATO, unfortunately, does not succeed. Likewise honoring the Republican rebels of the nineteenth century.” The stage, including Larry Schneider who came especially for the occasion, left the audience in tears when it came to several completely free paintings, from resisting deportation. It was broadcast only on Radio Libertaire thanks to Gérard Terrones. That too is jazz: making music together in a way that makes sense, in this place, which I call alpine bass, that has this history.”
A good teacher, the man feeds on his artistic encounters here and elsewhere to build proposals with his learners and lead them toward music freed from the constraints of established rules. Serving for Soler means accepting his own mistakes as well as those of his students: “I think to really train a jazz musician, you need ten good years. As for serving skills, we are constantly acquiring them…”
vaccination It is one of the key words in jazz pedagogy. In the mid-eighties he discovered the spirit of companionship that watered jazz, after he brought the quartetEric Barrett Then he is in his ranks Antoine Hervé, who shares a number of pedagogical interests, in terms of requirements as well as exchanges. This does not prevent him from denouncing some disintegration in terms of level. Workshop proposals can take a rather dizzying turn: “This year, for example, we held workshops on strange rhythms. I was inspired by the work I did for the Paul Desmond tribute record, with Pierre Finchell And the Cedric Beckwhich took two years to complete. From there, I thought of making tracks at 7/8, 9/8… I thought I’d go up to 13 but calmed down a bit! »
Even regular classical musicians end up attending these tutorial sessions, definitely inspired by his presence in a class Jay Longon at the Marseille Conservatoire in 1991. In the words of the humanist philosopher Degenois François Gassendi, who in the sixteenth century opposed cogito ergo sum Descartes: “You must know how to develop the power of imagination in you.” Without neglecting to take into account the frequencies of sound that the instruments, in particular the guitar, call his favorite instrument.
Everything happens as if pedagogy were for him a creative act, where a good dose of humility is more than necessary. I prefer to play with friends, peasants, good amateur workers, old people and children who come looking for keys to improvisation. The workshops were able to run from 7 pm until midnight, sometimes five evenings a week. Realizing that objective themes, particularly around bebop, ended up creating “de facto elitist,” Alan Soler returned to the standards and relics of a single composer: “Poppers make music that whites cannot understand. With us, on no such societal issue exists.” the powerful on the banks of the Durance.” For 2022/2023, he is specially giving workshops on the music of John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Sonny Rollins… 
Among his musical excursions – we can hardly speak of a “tour” here – our man recalls, not without an iota of nostalgia, his discovery of the music of the Black Continent. Especially with André Jaume and Avignon guitarist Remy Sharmason In Guinea-Bissau, through the Alliance Française. Meeting the griots, who sing a form of the blues “in a terrible way”, discovering the balafon …: “I had the impression that everything sounded false. I realized that in fact Big Bill Broonzy was tuned in the same way. Blue plays: the third major but not Exactly, the decreasing fifth and the seventh is a little lower on the pentagons. It’s magic. After I got back from Guinea, I changed. »»
Then, in Seychelles, our man will try to “understand the second eighth note of the triplets”, and in Ghana, he will write local rhythms, after validation by country musicians, after realizing that the latter plays pairs of rhythms with strange rhythms to “avoid sleep” . Far from ignoring the societies in which he developed, he is still remembered with a touch of bitterness the class spirit that permeated the illustrious musicians of Madagascar.
A good connoisseur of anarchist thought, especially Louise Michel, of whom he remembers giving her last speech at Orison, about fifteen kilometers from Château-Arnaud, shortly before her death in Marseille, and Elise Rickles, Alain Soler does not hesitate to do so. Establishing closely related links between anarchism and jazz.
“There is nothing more liberating than jazz, especially in its free form: you have to constantly transcend the frame, be in transcendence. The liberating spirit always prompts me to question myself: to what authority, musical, in particular, should I surrender myself How do I free myself from it?”
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