Eleven musicians on stage, under the direction of Olivier Hutman (pianist), and Dmitry Baevsky (formidable alto sax), this can give rise to a fake “jam” whose generosity will excuse the mess. But as long as the meeting was simply thought out, it happens that it leads to great moments. This Thursday, June 9, it is. The artists, except prior commitment, responded present and the public ditto. Of Russian father and Ukrainian mother, Dmitry Baevsky was in Saint-Petersburg when the war broke out. Olivier Hutman, project manager of the very successful first season “Jazz” of the European Jewish Cultural and University Space (Ecuje), located in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, is on the move.

The history of musicians cannot escape the movements of great history. She thwarts them, circumvents them or brings them back to reality, it is not necessary to have a great experience of jazz (it helps, of course) to hear her from the first new formation: Olivier Hutman, the most discreet of master of ceremonies (piano), opens the ball with Dmitry Baevsky, Olga Amelchenko, both determined alto sax, on luxurious rhythm: Fabien Marcoz, double bass, and the benchmark drummer, Steve Williams: themes chosen with tact from the repertoire that serves jazz musicians as rules of conversation (the “standards”): In Your Own Sweet Day (Brubeck), followed by Bolivia (Cedar Walton).

Follow Hugo Lippi (guitar), Diego Imbert (bassist of category) and Gautier Garrigue (divine drummer on the broken ones of Steve Williams, it is necessary to do it). They interpret Nuages ​​(by Django), before letting Lippi and Dan Nicholas (guitars) offer themselves a little Brazilian ballad (Chega de Saudade by Carlos Jobim). Dmitry, Olga, Dan Nicholas, Diego Imbert and Gautier Garrigue close the first part of a sumptuous Straight no Chaser by Monk without piano (so chic!)

Towards unexpected elsewhere

In this genre intelligently distributed by Olivier Hutman, we used to speak of groups with variable geometry. It sounded scientific and it wasn’t wrong. Moreover, as a stormy sky changes into a trolling sky, Thomas Enhco (piano) gets involved in the affair, the invaluable Diego (Imbert) on bass, and Gautier Garrigue on brushes. Perfect moment: it is Nardis, by Bill Evans, that Miles, with a hasty initialling, tried to appropriate… Everything will go to unexpected places. Olga Amelchenko draws a very determined Bye Bye Blackbird, thanks to this born orchestrator that is Thomas Enhco, plus Gautier Garrigue and Diego Imbert. Is that the big bassist’s solo? In any case, Diego plays everything with sincerity.

The two bassists pass the instrument around like an oval balloon, until the entry of Sara Lazarus, a singer with astonishing inflections, a singer of truth (a tune by Abbey Lincoln, then Sunshower by Kenny Barron). Last standard (I’m old fashioned), before final blues with the whole troupe. Surprising old-fashioned “beef”, was not this intention, militant or at least announced, remarkably chosen – the list of themes played, some rehashed, others rarer with always the same conviction – and directed by Olivier Hutman: This knowledge of letting others play.

For various reasons that it would be interesting to analyze, jazz performers resort less and less often to standards. Unless necessary: ​​this concert in support of Ukraine, without rehearsals or time to roll out a “project”. Back to basics. Imagine Monk, Django or Kenny Barron tying up a “project” intended to convince festivals and the ministry. Solidarity cannot afford these luxuries.