Alongside the MegaOctet, first formed in 1989 with “eight of their generation’s most flamboyant improvisers“, Andy Emler has performed in many different groups, notably alongside Michel Portal, whom he first met in 1985, François Jeanneau, Marc Ducret or Dave Liebman. He has trained music academy teachers in improvisation, received numerous commissions for a wide range of ensembles and formats, written music for the theatrical production of Jean Échenoz’s Ravel, worked regularly in the contemporary music field, made three trio albums with Claude Tchamitchian and Eric Echampard, a solo work for multiple pianos (2008’s For Better Times), etc…
In 2014, having already earned such prestigious awards as the Victoire du Jazz (twice), the Prix de l’Académie du Jazz and the Django d’Or (three times), he was made Knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters.
Three years after the acclaimed E Total, Andy Emler’s MegaOctet, that “laboratory of the most beautiful audacities“ in the words of André Francis, is back on the La Buissonne label with its outstanding cast, total freedom and penchant for creative constraints.
When he embarked on the writing of Obsession 3 – the MegaOctet’s seventh album, originally a commission from Germany’s national radio WDR and recorded over two days with Gérard de Haro at his legendary studios in Pernes-les-Fontaines – what Andy Emler, whom Le Nouveau Dictionnaire du Jazz has called a “catalyst of enthusiasms“, had in mind was to have all the music in three-time.
Andy Emler – piano, compositions, direction
Laurent Blondiau – trompette, bugle
Laurent Dehors – saxophone ténor, clarinette basse, cornemuse
Guillaume Orti – saxophone alto
Philippe Sellam – saxophone alto
François Thuillier – tuba
Claude Tchamitchian – contrebasse
Eric Echampard – batterie
François Verly – marimba, percussions
« It rings, clicks, roars and whispers. Like Mingus, it explodes, rumbles and exudes. Such is the MegaOctet : larger than a small group, smaller that a big band. The cleverest, craziest of habitable worlds »
Francis Marmande – Le Monde
« A three-time where one would be mistaken to expect the dizziness of a waltz – a whole other kind of dizziness is at work here, partly because those three beats are often difficult to locate », wrote Jazz Magazine’s Franck Bergerot in his review of the new work’s French premiere, at the Jazz aux Écluses festival in 2014.