Skip to content

Sophie Alour

[English] [français]


Entertainment, jubilation, and the pleasure of disguising oneself primed at the birth of Sophie Alour’s fifth opus « Shaker ». On this record, she gathers original compositions from different periods of her life. Some - like « Shaker » or « Joke »- have been written for Rhoda Scott, and seen by the author as a tribute to the sixties, those pivotal years for the first steps of Funk (Jimmy Smith, Lonnie Smith...). To the contrary, others are more Rock n’ Roll oriented and created for different instruments : drums/bass/sax trio or piano quartet. And yet they have been readjusted for this new ensemble and glorified by the organ, which adds something of an overwhelming flavour and a certain « modern dandy » style.

This album, very rythmic and fast paced, reveals itself to be full of joy, self-mockery and references to the epic history of Jazz. For this adventure, Sophie Alour joined forces with two of her pals, organ player Frederic Nardin and drummer Frédéric Pasqua.
The latter distinguished himself on the previous record « La Géographie des rêves » (Geography of dreams), whereas Frédéric Nardin is a new recruit to her universe. However, both are first class playmates for this new project. In addition, Sophie Alour also gives a primary role to the soprano and thus adds a new colour to her form of expression.

"Comptine" by Sophie Alour - SHAKER (naïve) from Anteprima on Vimeo.

Born in 1974, Sophie Alour learnt to play the sax on her own after studying the clarinet at the music school in Quimper (Bretagne).Then on stage playing live, she came to learn all she needed to know about Jazz to be hired in the "Vintage Orchestra" big band in 2000, which gathers the cream of her generation. She formed a sextet with horn player Stéphane Belmondo and also joined Christophe Dal Sasso’s big band in the same year, to contribute to the recording of the album « Ouverture ». She moved up a notch when Rhoda Scott hired her to make up a quartet in 2004.
Later this year, she played with Wynton Marsalis and took part in Aldo Romano’s new project. In 2005, she recorded her first album, « Insulaire », which was praised by the critics. Then, she was invited to participate in several recordings, including Alexandre Saada’s « Be Where You Are » and Rhoda Scott’s "Lady" quartet album.

As a leader, she carried out her second album « uncaged » in 2007, with Laurent Coq playing the Fender Rhodes, Yoni Zelnik plucking the double bass and Karl Jannuska hitting the drums. For this opus, she also poached guitarist Sébastien Martel from the rock scene. The public was as enthusiastic as the critics were (disque d’émoi Jazzmag, Choc Jazzman and ffff Télérama), and she even won a Golden Django as best young talent. During the two years that followed, she gave dozens of concerts with this band, both in France and abroad ( East Africa and Central America ), trying to reorganise her repertoire and find its boundaries. As a result, she came back perked up in studio to record a new album in trio : « Opus 3 » (Plus Loin Music, 2010). In 2011, she takes part in the recording of Dal Sasso’s new album « Prétextes » (B-flat), along with prestigious musicians such as David El-Malek, Pierre De Bethmann or Franck Aghulon. In June of the same year, she contributes to Rhoda Scott live CD recorded on the main stage of the "Jazz à Vienne" Festival.

"Shaker" by Sophie Alour - SHAKER (naïve) from Anteprima on Vimeo.

released in May 2012

For her fourth disc, entirely self composed, Sophie Alour decided to surround herself with Stéphan Carracci on vibraphone, Yoann Loustalot on trumpet & flugelhorn, herself on clarinet plus Bass clarinet and tenor sax , Nicolas Moreaux on double bass and Frederic Pasqua on Drums . Sophie has titled it " Geography of Dreams ".

With this formation, she carries on with her attempt to free herself from conventions of the genre and more than ever, she tries to emancipate her music from the mould of a consumerist society. She gladly says that « La Géographie des Rêves » is a manifesto, and it has received a warm welcome from the public and critics alike, and some would even praise her talents of composer for this album.

The great innovation of this project, compared to her previous records, lies above all in the instrumentation with the clarinet and bass clarinet adding a new pallet of expression to that of the saxophone. This choice gives it a tone of innocence, displayed in the apparent simplicity of certain pieces, but also expressed in the spontaneous and collective improvisation parts of the record. Yet the musical composition itself is vital and central to "Geography of Dreams". Full parts are written from beginning to end, disturbing the traditional role of improvisation in jazz, and some of them sound similar to the music of a small chamber orchestra, as much by the combination of sounds as by the writing. The influences of this project range from Steve Reich to Eric Dolphy, while passing through early 20th century classical French music.

< !—>