The meaning of an approach – reminder of the facts, motivations

The Bridge has been building itself since 2013, inspired by a simple observation: if it is now well known that jazz and improvised music, in France and in Europe, have found their flight, their specificity and their independence, some North American stages, particularly in Chicago and the Midwest, continue to develop at their own rhythm(s). The autonomy acquired and the originality developed by both sides should not prevent new forms of cooperation. On the contrary, we believe that they should even encourage them.

To durably bring together French and North American musicians (our network gathers more than 140 musicians from both countries, the list of whom is given in the chronology, and who have been divided into quartets and quintets, themselves divided into two cycles); to give them space, time and the opportunity to get to know each other, in their similarities and differences, to develop their exchanges and creative projects, in reciprocity and complementarity: such is the objective of The Bridge.

Our system therefore provides that each Franco-American ensemble circulates in turn on both continents during tours designed as exploratory trips: the ensembles that began in France then move to the United States, and vice versa.

Each tour is designed and produced as a series of concerts in all kinds of places (from the club to the festival, from the conservatory to the university, from the local association to the national museum, at least fifteen concerts and events are guaranteed each time – a documentary was directed by Hugo Massa to tell the fabulous story of one of these tours,; a recording was also made by Culture Box). But also as an opportunity for musicians on the move to better understand the social, cultural and economic environment of their partners, through multiple parallel events that are equally and differently addressed to the whole society.

This is why The Bridge does not only promote one transatlantic ensemble or another, but takes advantage of each tour to electrify a network. It is a question of creating a real circulation of experiences, ideas and perspectives, almost ethnographic in nature. To follow the long path of mutual understanding that cannot save the time spent, wasted and invented together, the economy of spaces and counterspaces to be repopulated. And through the bringing together of creative musicians, through the assembly of original music drawing on these experiences, filtering, transposing and transforming them, it is also a question of solidarity between the structures and institutions that work daily and year-round with these musicians, and which are our obvious partners. With them and through them, propose another economic model for the intelligent diffusion of this music; contributing to a better dialogue between music and the world.

The Bridge is not presenter anchored in a single physical space, a single territory, but a nebula associating such places all over France and Chicago. Our initiative would not have been possible without the steadfast support of these clubs, festivals, music schools, conservatories, universities, cultural centres, media, on both sides of the Atlantic, nor without a “knowledge of the field” that immediately made it possible to identify, from the “base”, a first set of valuable partners. We would like to thank them here for their commitment to us.

Documentary video of “Escape Lane”, directed in November 2014 by Hugo Massa

2nd cycle

TB #2.1
Rob  Frye
JayVe Montgomery
Olivia Scemama
Simon Sieger
Dan Bitney
TB #2.2
Mai Sugimoto
Raymond Boni
Anton Hatwich
Paul Rogers
TB #2.3
Marvin Tate
Erwan Keravec
Gerrit Hatcher
Lia Kohl
Gaspar Claus
TB #2.4
Damon Locks
Morgane Carnet
Macie Stewart
Jozef Dumoulin
Fanny Lasfargues
TB #2.5
Ben Lamar Gay
Sam Pluta
Sophie Agnel
Pascal Niggenkemper
TB #2.6
Quentin Biardeau
Corey Wilkes
Justin Dillard
Etienne Ziemniak
TB #2.7
Isaiah Collier
Jaimie Branch
Rafaelle Rinaudo
Gilles Coronado
Tim Daisy
TB #2.8
Hunter Diamond
Florian Nastorg
Yoram Rosilio
Mikel Patrick Avery
TB #2.9
Sakina Abdou
Julien Pontvianne
Ugochi Nwaogwugwu
Coco Elysses
Julien Chamla
TB #2.10
Nick Mazzarella
Tim Stine
Céline Rivoal
Katie Ernst
Sylvain Lemêtre
TB #2.11
Jean-Brice Godet
Greg Ward
Hélène Labarrière
Isaiah Spencer
TB #2.12
Magic Malik
Angel Bat Dawid
Richard Comte
Nick Macri
Toma Gouband
TB #2.13
Jeff Albert
Irvin Pierce
Paul Wacrenier
Christian Dillingham
Nicolas Pointard
TB #2.14
Tim Haldeman
Fidel Fourneyron
Antonin Rayon
Thibault Cellier
Marcus Evans
TB 2.15
Bertrand Denzler
Basile Naudet
Junius Paul
Vincent Davis
Will Guthrie
TB #2.16
Peter Maunu
Simon Henocq
Luca Ventimiglia
Julian Kirshner
Erik M

1st cycle

Douglas R. Ewart
Jean-Luc Cappozzo
Joëlle Léandre
Bernard Santacruz
Michael Zerang
Aymeric Avice
Joshua Abrams
Jason Adasiewicz
Avreeayl Ra
Benjamin Sanz
Benjamin Duboc
Harrison Bankhead
Ramon Lopez
Hamid Drake
Rob Mazurek
Mwata Bowden
Julien Desprez
Matt Lux
Mathieu Sourisseau
Sylvaine Hélary
Fred Lonberg-Holm
Eve Risser
Mike Reed
Ben Lamar Gay
Marquis Hill
Jeff Parker
Joachim Florent
Denis Fournier
Khari B
Magic Malik
Jeb Bishop
Guillaume Orti
Fred BBriet
Tyshawn Sorey
Antonin-Tri Hoang
Mars Williams
Tatsu Aoki
Samuel Silvant
Mankwe Ndosi
Mike Ladd
Sylvain Kassap
Dana Hall
Claudia Solal
Katherine Young
Benoît Delbecq
Lou Mallozzi
Joe McPhee
Daunik Lazro
Joshua Abrams
Guillaume Séguron
Chad Taylor
Lisa E. Harris
Nicole Mitchell
Christian Pruvost
Lionel Garcin
Christophe Rocher
Pierre-Antoine Badaroux
Jean-Luc Guionnet
Jason Roebke
Jim Baker
Keefe Jackson
Dave Rempis
Christine Wodrascka
Didier Lasserre
Peter Orins
Josh Berman
Jason Stein
Didier Petit
Edward Perraud
Fred Jackson Jr
Stéphane Payen
Makaya McCraven
Edward Perraud

The Bridge’s driving principle is to work in collaboration with the production and performance structures that work year-round in a given territory, in France and the United States. This chain of association of some forty venues on both sides of the ocean allows each tour to be organized in a logic of reciprocity and mutuality.

Along the same lines, The Bridge defends a model in which long-distance travel is only justified for transatlantic trips and for tours of two to three weeks devoid of plane-hopping, thus developing responsible practices based on sustainable territorial ties.

By fostering the interpenetration of these two “ecosystems”, bringing musicians (but also programmers and promoters from both continents) together, The Bridge has directly or indirectly sparked many new projects outside its immediate perimeter: in 2015, “Chicago in Paris,” in collaboration with the Théâtre de la Ville, the Théâtre du Châtelet, and the Festival d’Automne; in 2018, Olivier Benoit’s Orchestre National de Jazz playing Mike Reed’s “The City Was Yellow”; in 2019, its own exceptional festival at the Espace Cardin-Théâtre de la Ville and La Dynamo, and the international colloquium “W. E.B. Du Bois, Scholar, Activist and Passeur between America, Europe and Africa”, with the University of Chicago in Paris, the Musée d’Aquitaine in Bordeaux and several institutions.

The Bridge also shares its network and practical experience in North America with jazz and improvised music club and festival curators in France, and vice-versa, as well as with musicians and their promoters who want to understand and reach markets with different legal, administrative and fiscal quirks.

More than a network of musicians, The Bridge is also, therefore, a network of actors and structures supporting the same differentialist aesthetics–producing events, information and knowledge, around these musical and sociomusical practices.