Sea Angels [TB#12, return journey] | October 2019, France

By five times, for this twelfth Bridge: Lisa E. Harris and her voices transcending space, time and identities, Mike Ladd and his word arrows, the bubbling lava of Christophe Rocher’s clarinets, the cascading saxophones of Lionel Garcin, Christian Pruvost and the hydra of his trumpets. It will be a wind ensemble, a swarm of intelligence, necessarily five tightrope walkers. Together, they will compose (improvise) a crumpled bouquet of suddenly tempestuous, suddenly encalmed breaths. It is obvious, their breaths will draw as many wind roses, their wind instruments will also be compasses of music. All it will take is one displacement of air, a thousand and one displacements of air. A wind together. And with the blown air moving, with this distillation of blows, an imperceptible displacement of the axis of the world, of its positions, of its dispositions, of its orientations. One can dream.

The poet Saint-John Perse had foreseen them, these “very great winds on all sides of this world / Very great winds in jubilation by the world, which had no area or shelter”. These “very great winds searching on all tracks of this world / On all things perishable, on all things seizable, among the whole world of things“. These “very great forces growing on all the tracks of this world, and which took their source higher than in our songs“. These winds “which were licensed by the world – O whole world of things – and which lived on the ridges of the future as on the potter’s clay slopes”. For the air shapes in its own way, like the breath of matter embracing winds, voices and spirits. There is not one breath of air, there are so many and in so many directions. There is the silk of breath and there is the wheel of breath. The bone of breath. The bone or ace of breath. There is the talisman of breath. The crystal ball of breath. The snow or coal of breath. The flame of breath. There is the sickle of breath, the hammer of breath, the axe of breath. There are the beasts of the breath. The hive of breath. There is the down of breath. The seam of breath. The unlocking of breath. The machination of breath. The dissent of the breath. The purification of breath. And even the homeless of breath. There is the gift of breath. The shell of the breath. The bud of breath. The vine of breath. There is the window of breath. The sun of breath. The sun or the evening of the breath. The eye of the breath. There is the silk of breath. “All the tools of breath“, according to the poet Ynnis Stìggas.

This is the obvious, and it will also be its opposite, because the improvisers in their ice palace always converge and diverge, as we have learned from so many wind ensembles. For the record now, there have been trumpet and brass ensembles (such as the late Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy), saxophone ensembles (such as the World Saxophone Quartet or the Rova Saxophone Quartet, such as in France the saxophone quartet of Marc Baron, Bertrand Denzler, Jean-Luc Guionnet and Stéphane Rives), clarinet ensembles (such as John Carter’s Clarinet Summit, Hamiet Bluiett’s Clarinet Family, Douglas R.’s Clarinet Choir, etc.) and the Clarinet Choir (such as the Clarinet Summit by John Carter, the Clarinet Family by Hamiet Bluiett, the Clarinet Choir by Douglas R. Ewart’s Clarinet Choir, such as Watt in France), flute ensembles themselves (such as James Newton’s Flute Force 4 and Henry Threadgill’s Flute Force 4). But in the end we know few ensembles that have called together several families of winds (the New Winds Ensemble in New York? Horns in Paris?). Their compass. These five have gradually “taken, leaf by leaf, the control of all our windmills,” as the poet James Noël recommends. Their music will be habitable as the world changes its axis. We can dream.