Of the many female singers that used to play on my father's vinyl record player, Billie Holiday is the one who touched my heart, deeply defining my quest for a sound both expressive and singular. I used to dream of performing with this idol, channeling Lester Young: "He plays like she sings, she sings like he plays..."

Later, the cycle of romantic Lieder, Frauenliebe und Leben - which tells, in a first person narrative, the life of a woman in eight episodes - reminded me of the singer I so admired and the way in which she hailed the listener by creating a character whose life and songs melded together. It is then that I started to imagine paying tribute to Billie Holiday with this piece of Schumman as watermark.

If his heroine is fated to a linear and idealised path in which suffering arises only from the loss of the loved one, Eleanora Suite tells another story: the heart-wrenching tale of Billie, that resonates in me like an extraordinary lesson in resilience.

I could hear a simple and narrative instrumental music , associating my clarinet to the violin of Régis Huby around chosen lyrics; to lend a voice to the words of my heroine, I invited Claudia Solal to evolve imperceptibly a work of storytelling towards song.

These songs that had shaken me with Billie came back to stir my soul a few years ago during a concert by Linda Sharrock, organised by Philippe Ghielmetti at the Sunside. I had planned to make a record with her and Stéphan Oliva but it never saw the light of day and this other Billie, so very close, eluded me once again.

Eleanora suite is my tribute to Billie Holiday. I hear it like a daydream laced with great tenderness and respectful modesty. I dedicate this record to Linda Sharrock.


Jean-Marc Foltz: clarinettes

Régis Huby: violon

Claudia Solal: voix

Revue de presse


Eleanora Suite

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