First Page

by Stéphane Spira

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about

FIRST PAGE

To speak of maturity when one is confronted to an artist’s first opus may seem presumptuous. Yet the
word comes to mind naturally upon listening to this « first page ». Here is finally a musician who waited
for his time before getting into a studio. He did well to do so. The orchestra runs to perfection, everything
is cohesion, mutual listening. Stéphane knows that one of the keys to success resides in how to surround
himself. John Coltrane, Miles Davis and so many others demonstrated that well. For this doubly ambitious
project where he affirms himself as a soloist as well as plays his own music, Stéphane needed poetry,
tenderness, caress, delicacy. Such is exactly the miracle that took place. A miracle that slowly matured
from the mind of the composer. The orchestra lives and breathes as one. Proof being Excès à petites doses,
in which the tempo constantly moves in crystal-clear understanding. Thanks to Olivier Hutman, Philippe
Soirat and Gilles Naturel, a trio that combines softness and efficiency.
Mention must also be made of trumpeter Stéphane Belmondo, here playing the bugle, in perfect tune with
our hero. The jazz scene will have to take notice. For jazz clubs regulars, Stéphane Spira is this « grinning
teddy bear » who shows up at night unannounced, unpacks his tenor or soprano in a corner, then discretely
blends in with the band, regardless of the style or context. He shines during jam sessions. He is always the
right man at the right place. How can one not be seduced by his velvety finger work? Stéphane is instinctive,
a sweet man that knows intrinsically when to speak and when to step aside when necessary. Always working
for the group, for the music. His qualities show right away on this first record. The sound of the soprano on
Five Times a Day wins us over. The same goes for the tenor on Angel. The accuracy of the tempi on Bric à
broc is impressive. The natural sense of space and articulation of Babeth seduces.
And to further affirm his family of thought, Stéphane aptly chooses two of the most beautiful standards (The
Peacocks by Jimmy Rowles and Luiza by Tom Jobim), as if to better say « I love you ».
A nice work of art to keep preciously before filing it in your record collection between James Spaulding, the
formidable flutist, and Spyro Gyra, a band with a more eclectic sound. It is also between these two names
that Stéphane Spira’s own will be featured in the jazz dictionary, right beside « Spirituals ».
Spirituality! His music does not lack any.


Jean-Michel Proust

credits

released February 23, 2006

All songs by Stéphane Spira (Jazzmax Publishing-ASCAP) except:

The Peacocks by J.Rowles - KUDU MUSIC COMPANY
Luiza by A.C. Jobim - Corcovado Music Corp.



STEPHANE SPIRA - tenor & soprano saxophones

OLIVIER HUTMAN- piano

PHILIPPE SOIRAT - drums

GILLES NATUREL - bass

Special guest: STEPHANE BELMONDO - flugelhorn



Recorded at Studio du Petit-Pont (Paris) in December 2004
Recording & mixing : Guillaume Billaux
Mastering : Guillaume Billaux
Cover painting : Marie-Christine Gayffier
Photos : Olivier Garros
Artwork : Farid Daoud
Produced by Alexandre Baudin for ALB Records – Les 5A JAZZ
Executive producer for BEE JAZZ : Alexandre Leforestier
Coordination : Mohamed Gastli
Originally Released in 2006 on BEE JAZZ Records under ref. BEE012

© JAZZMAX

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Stéphane Spira New York, New York

French-born, New York-based saxophonist Stéphane Spira grew up with jazz the old-school way: in late-night jams and cutting sessions. A protégé of longtime Chet Baker pianist Michel Graillier, Spira's jazz career has taken him from 4 a.m. basement sessions in the underbelly of Paris, through acclaimed collaborations with Stéphane Belmondo and Giovanni Mirabassi, to the New York jazz scene. ... more

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