Claudia Solal and Benjamin Moussay have been playing in duo for 15 years now, both in France and abroad. After their first CD, Porridge days (2005 Le Chant du Monde/Harmonia Mundi), followed by Room Service with the Quartet Spoonbox, now appears a new and completely original release Butter in my brain : unique, whimsical and forceful songs that explore the vigorous imagination of this oversize duo.
Although Claudia Solal and Benjamin Moussay may be deeply attached to jazz, their true playground would more likely be somewhere between improvisation, pop music, electronic music, contemporary music, minimalism, sound poetry ?… Nothing to do with fusion, but more of an adventurous desire to communicate with a specific sound, by turning out this collection of rustling, vivid, crazy songs, sometimes insistent or haunting, dark or radiant, urban, inspired by true stories or dreams, talking about desire, fear, hope… Multipolar creative songs, « arthouse » songs ! People loosing landmarks, prey to immense joys or to devastating depression, on the verge of a split personality, yet always deeply in love with life, nature, human beings… boundless, free music…
« Appeared some twenty years ago in the french jazz landscape, rich with her immediately personal and deeply original universe, Claudia Solal has never since ceased cultivating the singularity of a total vocal art, crossing all the stylistic stratums of new music ». Stéphane Ollivier, Festival Jazz in Marciac
« Excellency is the least you can say – excellency, but naked and raw, with a cutting edge, like truth ». Les Inrocks
« Sensual music, masterly, accomplished, and free. These days are in need of such challenging beauty ». Libération
« Clear forms resulting from an inspiration drawn from the diversity that connects Steve Reich to Debussy, Aphex Twin to pop music, minimalism to the climates of kinetic music. The shimmering of a jazz that breaks down barriers and dazzles the listener ». Jazz magazine
« Claudia Solal and Benjamin Moussay’s work is somehow reminiscent of Ran Blake/Jeanne Lee’s sixties album « The Newest Sound around ». A similar state of mind pursuing the expressive strength of reserve, suggestion, and the desire to go wherever it seems impossible to venture ». Fabien Barontini, Festival Sons d’Hiver
As a singer, songwriter, improviser, Claudia Solal has performed on stage for 20 years in France, Europe, South East Asia, United States, on the most prestigious venues and festivals. Her numerous collaborations and artistic experiences played a large part in building a unique vocal language, at the crossroads of written material and improvised songs. After her highly acclaimed first two recordings “My own Foolosophy” (quartet with Baptiste Trotignon, 1998), and “Porridge Days” (duet with Benjamin Moussay, 2005 – « Coup de cœur » Charles Cros Academy), she released “Room Service” in 2010 (ffff télérama), with Spoonbox quartet. Her third album in collaboration with Benjamin Moussay, “Butter in my brain”, has been released in October 2017.
She currently works in a trio with Didier Petit and Philippe Foch (Les Voyageurs de l’Espace / « Coup de Cœur » Charles Cros Academy 2017), – with whom she toured in 2016 and 2017 in China, with French american quartet Antichamber Music with Katie Young, Lou Mallozzi and Benoît Delbecq, in Jean-Marie Machado’s Danzas Orchestra, in a trio with Jean-Marc Foltz and Régis Huby, Equivoxe duet with contemporary singer Valérie Philippin, in duet with bass player Benjamin Duboc (Le ventre vide), in duet and sextet with clarinetist Sylvain Kassap (Hélène Labarrière, Aymeric Avice, Gianni Caserotto, Sylvain Darrifourcq). She is also preparing un duet recording with Benoît Delbecq.
She’s been teaching since 1998, and has run the jazz singing and improvisation class at Strasbourg’s Conservatory CRR since 2005. She also gives workshops and master classes, and composes for TV and theater.
At age 41, Benjamin Moussay is a singular Jazz pianist and composer. After having listened thoroughly to the tradition of jazz (Monk, Tristano, Ellington, Hancock), but also to classical music (Beethoven, Debussy, Bach, Chopin), contemporary music (Ligeti, Reich), rock and pop (Radiohead, Bowie, Velvet Underground), and electronic music (Aphex Twin, Fennesz), he has developed a unique style amongst today’s Jazz scene. He began studying classical piano (with Jean Fassina and Jean-Louis Haguenauer) before turning to jazz, composition and arrangement at the Paris Conservatory (with François Jeanneau, Hervé Sellin, Francois Théberge and Jean-François Jenny-Clarke). In 98 he was laureate of the Martial Solal International Jazz Piano Competition. The following year he won the second prize for the best soloist in the National Jazz Competition at La Défense.
His musical experiences with Louis Sclavis, Glenn Ferris, Archie Shepp, Jerry Bergonzi, Daniel Humair, Tony Malaby have contributed to build his language and technique. At the Piano, the Fender Rhodes or the synthesizer, one is immediately struck by the depth of his tone, the intensity of his presence and his talent for improvisation. Supported by a very solid technique, a great rhythmic fluency and a sense of form, his music combines romantic melodies, hypnotic trance, seismic paroxysms, experimental electronic accents and progressive rock. His compositions and improvisations are original, sometimes cinematographic, pictorial, like songs without words, suggestive and provocative.
He’s been performing for many years with his trio. Drummer Eric Echampard and bassist Arnault Cuisinier are ideal partners and let him fully express his musical ideas. The band is constantly evolving. In six years of existence it has developed a great complicity, a perfect fellowship and a burning sound. The albums Swimming Pool and On Air have been praised by the critics and allowed the trio to get noticed in many foreign countries.To explore his rock and experimental side he founded a new trio, Paradox of Infinity, with guitarist Marc Ducret, drummer Sylvain Darrifourcq, and sax player Christophe Monniot. He’s also working on his first piano solo album.Highly demanded musician and eclectic sideman, Benjamin Moussay just released Room Service with Claudia Solal, Beyond Mountains with Alain Vankenhove, Dreamseekers with Frédéric Norel, Ode to the Doodooda with Laurent Robin, Face the Music with Marc Buronfosse. He is also a member of Louis Sclavis’ Atlas Trio and Silk and Salt Quartet with GIlles Coronado et Kevan Chemirani.
He also works regularly with Bernard Struber Jazztet, Ping Machine, Denis Colin, Christophe Marguet, Vincent Courtois and Youn Sun Nah (So I am in 2004 world tour). Confirmed educator, he teaches Jazz Piano and Computer Music in Paris Municipal Conservatories (13th and 18th districts) and has been teaching for 7 years at Marciac summer Jazz Sessions. Composer for the screen, he wrote the original music of the film Marie et le Loup directed by Eve Heinrich, for the Yogabs video by Jean-Marie Martz, and worked on the music of L’Après Midi de Mr. Andesmas by Michelle Porte. He also accompanied many silent films on the piano. He composed and recorder the soundtrack for the show La Montagne directed by Jack Souvant for the Compagnie Bonheur Interieur Brut.
Butter in my brain • Abalone Productions / L’Autre distribution • 2017
Les voyageurs de l’espace • Buda Musique • 2016
Eleanora Suite • Visions Fugitives • 2015
Room Service • Harmonia Mundi • 2010
Yves Rousseau Sextet • Le Chant du Monde/Harmonia Mundi • 2007
Exposition sans tableau • Nocturne • 2006
Porridge Days • Chant du Monde/Harmonia Mundi • 2005
My Own Foolosophy • Midnight Sun/Night & Day • 1998
Benjamin Moussay • piano, keyboards
Claudia Solal • voice