Stéphane SEVA



Swing Ondulé


Stéphane Séva has taken the washboard to new heights...


Washboards
Ecoutez le washboard dans ses diverses aventures :
Swing Ondulé Vol. 1 : Minor's Mood - Chevauchée à Bop-City
Swing Ondulé Vol 2 : Twelfth Steet Rag - I'm coming Virginia
Arkenciel : Extrait 1 - Extrait 2 - Extrait 3 - Extrait 4
Double Stef : Le train - Malandrins à la lourde massue

The traditional washboard has long since left the confines of the laundry room to assume its place as a virtuoso instrument.

Alain Marquet Beneath Stéphane Séva's nimble fingertips, this most unusual of instruments truly comes into its own as a linchpin of swing and has been readily adopted by legendary figures in traditional jazz such as Alain Marquet (Paris Washboard, Sidney Bechet Memory). The end result is the kind of infectious, musical chemistry which is fast becoming the Swing Ondulé trademark.



While remaining firmly anchored in trad jazz, Stéphane has taken the washboard to new heights through a series of musical encounters with inspirational artists such as in the show Wezoune la Course (music and dance from Benin), Frank Tortiller, Karpatt, Totale Racole (Electro jazz), IRCAM (French institute for music/acoustic research and coordination), Mano Solo, the didgeridoo player David Gouin (Electro tribal project) and, most recently, a duo with the twin-neck guitarist Stéphane Malta.



Born into a musical family in Tournan-en-Brie (France) in 1971, Stéphane Séva is an accomplished singer and percussionist. An aficionado of "old style" jazz from an early age, he began his musical career playing washboard in a Dixieland show band alongside his father. Now one of Europe's top washboard players, he plays on the famous jazz band "Paris Washboard" who plays around the world for 20 years (USA, Japan, New Zealand, Argentina, Germany, Sweden...) with yhe great pianist Louis Mazetier, one of the best "stride" pianist in the world, Daniel Barda on trombone and Alain Marquet on Clarinet. Stéphane has made a number of recordings and performed at countless festivals (Edimbourg, Costa Mesa/Californie, Marciac, Monségur, Fribourg, etc.). He is also a regular performer at Paris jazz clubs (Caveau de la Huchette, Petit Journal, Duc des Lombards, etc.).



"An impeccable sense of tempo embellished by pinpoint solos" JAZZHOT - March 2006.



In May 2005, Stéphane delighted French TV viewers with his washboard playing on the popular Michel Drucker talk show (with the band "Lancelot et ses Chevaliers") and is now something of a leading light in the country's traditional jazz circles. His 'Swing Ondulé' quintet features top-drawer musicians from the genre (Alain Marquet-clarinet, Gilles Chevaucherie - double bass, Olivier Lancelot-piano, Benoît Van Hille-trombone).



The american jazz critic Michael Steinman wrote in may 2008...

(...)The word "washboard" makes some listeners justifiably anxious, for many players of that instrument are loud, intrusive, unsteady. But Seva is a delicate player, not given to clangorous banging, and his time is just right. In fact, his solo work reminds me of late-period Zutty Singleton. Seva's tappings and rattlings have a thoughtful sound, as if he was experimenting with his paraphernalia to see what would come out of it (...)

Jazztimes /2008/New-York



About "Lancelot et ses Chevaliers"

Lancelot et ses chevaliers Some weeks ago, I wrote about discovering the Parisian stride wizard Olivier Lancelot. Today, I found an enticing flat package in my mailbox: a CD by Oliver with the clarinetist / altoist Didier Desbois and the washboardist / singer* Stephane Seva, recorded at a concert in 1999.

The trio plays Grandpa's Spells / Liza / Love Me / Harlem Joys / I Believe In Miracles / Original Dixieland One-Step / Breeze / Lulu's Back in Town / Buddy's Habits / Le Lac des Cygnes [Swan Lake] / High Society / Honeysuckle Rose. The word "washboard" makes some listeners justifiably anxious, for many players of that instrument are loud, intrusive, unsteady. But Seva is a delicate player, not given to clangorous banging, and his time is just right. In fact, his solo work reminds me of late-period Zutty Singleton. Seva's tappings and rattlings have a thoughtful sound, as if he was experimenting with his paraphernalia to see what would come out of it.

Desbois is an unusual clarinet player, and his singularity is to be praised. Most clarinetists aim for a full, rounded woody tone - the better to rip off Benny Goodman phrases! - or they growl and sputter, hoping to emulate PeeWee Russell. Desbois has a focused, penetrating, reedy tone, reminiscent of black pre-Goodman clarinetists (Cecil Scott, Benny Carter, Prince Robinson). His approach may take you by surprise when you first hear it, but it is a truly pleasant surprise. He sounds like Pan, if Pan swung this hard, which I doubt. He is also an extraordinary Hodges (and Charlie Holmes) alto virtuoso : his tone on "I Believe In Miracles" is rich but never syrupy, as he glides from note to note.

And then there's the noble Lancelot himself, someone I have already celebrated as a solo player. But many solo players, in and out of stride, can't merge their rhythms with other players. Not so Olivier, who proves himself a fine accompanist - in the groove - as Thirties players used to say. And you might, at first, admire his instrumental facility, his sheer mastery of stride conventions, fluidly played and creatively reimagined. But soon you stop saying, "There's a James P. passage," or "Hear how Olivier executes that familiar Fats run," and you admire the serious joy he brings to his own version of the style.

As a group, the trio has its own witty fun - the startling key changes in "Original Dixieland One-Step," Seva's heartfelt vocalizing on "Breeze," and the mournful ending to "Le Lac de Cygnes" - these and other touches give this trio an identity: it's no one's repertory band.

JAZZLIVES / New York / May,28 , 2008



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