New Book and Music: “Baudelaire Jazz. Méditations poétiques et musicales”

Patrick Chamoiseau’s Baudelaire Jazz. Méditations poétiques et musicales avec Raphaël Imbert (Seuil, 27 May 2022) is based on a series of concerts created for the bicentenary of the birth of French poet Charles Baudelaire at the Musée d’Orsay. The book includes a QR code that allows you to download the corresponding music. Here is a description from RadioFrance.

Description: Since Spring 2021, the Musée d’Orsay has been celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Baudelaire, poet, and art critic. Writer Patrick Chamoiseau and jazzman Raphael Imbert invite you to rediscover the work of the poet in music.

In these perfumed countries that the sun caresses, where you just barely caught a glimpse of slaves, they were already there, your fellow people, your brothers: their poetics in the making initiated the one you were going to create! This is why we wanted to take you to this matrix of plantations from which improbable creators have arisen: the primordial storyteller, Césaire, Glissant, Fanon…”

This poetic and musical meditation, a veritable chaos-opera, brings the poet of Western modernity back to the world of slave plantations, African polyrhythms, and improvisation… A hell from which arose, despite everything, dances, songs, drums, the kingdom of the Creole storyteller, master-of-the-word, and the indecipherable enigma of jazz. Speaking to Charles Baudelaire, Patrick Chamoiseau invites him to reflect with us on the history of slavery, on the history of the plantations where a music was born, which seemed to have been presaged by the author of “Paradis artificiels” and “Fleurs du mal.”

Those who had to be reborn in the plantations did so with the rhythm that you know well. The rhythm that opens onto its own excessiveness, the rhythm that breaks the rhythm, and shifts that rhythm into the leaps of the shivers and hiccups of cadence, the swell of these movements that go up and down, that go down as they go up, this wave that forces all those beautiful cathedrals in which you brooded over your work to implode… Mr. Baudelaire, you made jazz!”

Patrick Chamoiseau’s book, “Baudelaire Jazz, Méditations poétiques et musicales avec Raphaël Imbert,” will be published on May 27 by Editions du Seuil. A QR code, inside the book, allows you to download the music. Raphaël Imbert (sax, clarinet-bass) is surrounded by Célia Kameni (vocals), Pierre-François Blanchard (piano) and Sonny Troupé (percussion).

Patrick Chamoiseau has built a corpus celebrated by awards (the Goncourt Prize for Texaco*) and translated all over the world, which include alternate visionary novels, virulent and committed essays, reflections on literature, autobiographical texts, tales, and detective stories. [. . .]

Raphaël Imbert is saxophonist and artistic director of the company Nine Spirit. One of his favorite fields is the spiritual in jazz, to which he notably devoted the book Jazz supreme at Éditions de l’éclat.

Translated by Ivette Romero. For more information (in French), see https://www.radiofrance.fr/francemusique/jazz-culture-baudelaire-jazz-de-patrick-chamoiseau-2524257

Also see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK_kbdSga40

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