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Bruno Chevillon

Double bassist

  • Until now, I had not found a proximity microphone that gives me complete satisfaction and, in particular, the feeling of having a sound recording with “air,” something which seemed essential to me. I only found this quality in the studio, with high-end microphones placed a few dozen cm from my instrument.


    With the Prodipe BL21 Lanen, the feeling of “space” is clearly there. The sound of my instrument is perfectly reproduced, ample, stamped, precise, without the cold, surgical quality of other microphones of this type.


    A big thank you to the entire Prodipe technical team for having succeeded in bringing together all these qualities, which are so important to an instrumentalist.


Evolving on the borders of improvised music, contemporary creation and free jazz, Bruno Chevillon has established himself as one of the major voices of the double bass, combining with remarkable assurance the virtues of an accompanist with the determining presence in those of an improviser capable of exploring to the depths the expressive possibilities of his instrument. Sought after by the main actors of the French scene ( Louis Sclavis, Daniel Humair, Michel Portal, in particular), he embodies the extension of the emancipation of the double bass in the improvised gesture initiated, in France, by Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Joëlle Léandre and Barre Phillips, whose innovations he takes up with an elegance and freshness that seem unrivaled.

Enrolled in the Fine Arts and at the Avignon Conservatory, Bruno Chevillon simultaneously discovered the plastic arts, photography and the study of the classical double bass. From this multidisciplinary training, it is tempting to see extensions in his sophisticated practice of free improvisation: treatment of sound material, taste for performance alone, attention to gesture, physical relationship to the instrument, curiosity for exchanges artistic, indifference to stylistic standards, attraction for experimentation ... Joining the jazz class of André Jaume in 1982, he evolves among the core of musicians federated by the Marseille saxophonist with whom he gives his first concerts. In the process, he got closer to the GRIM (Marseille research and improvisation group) and guitarist Jean-Marc Montera.

However, it was the meeting with Louis Sclavis in 1985 that proved to be the most decisive. Chevillon accompanies him in all his projects: in addition to the Marvelous Band, he is part of the quartet with François Raulin and Christian Ville, takes part in “Chamber Music” and “Ellington on the Air” (1991) as well as in the creation of the Acoustic Quartet co-directed by Sclavis and Dominique Pifarély (1992) and again to a trio with François Merville (1993). He also met trombonist Yves Robert who formed a trio with him in 1989, completed by American drummer Aaron Scott. In 1994, it was Michel Portal's turn to notice his competence. Establishing himself as the most talented double bass player of his generation, he became one of the essential animators of a family of French improvisers who turned their backs on academicism and claimed aesthetic questioning as a creative motor. Originally marked by the articulate ease of a Scott LaFaro or the independence of a Gary Peacock, whose suppleness of lines and powerful drive he retains, Bruno Chevillon reveals the temperament of an experimenter, a follower of the bow, of which he masters the technique, and of an extended range of playing modes (stick, mallets, preparation of strings, resonances, percussion ...) to which he sometimes adds his own voice. This unheard-of desire to make the stage a place of open expression led him to interdisciplinary collaborations, whether it was music for theater or dance (show Face Nord with choreographer Mathilde Monnier in 1991 ) or photography (Œil de Breizh with Guy Le Querrec). It gives birth to Pier Paolo Pasolini ou la rage sublime, a solo recital inspired by poems by the Italian filmmaker regularly given in public.

Closer to jazz, he began an ongoing relationship with pianist Stéphan Oliva in 1996: after the album “Jade Visions” inspired by Bill Evans' repertoire, both invited Paul Motian to form a trio the following year. Two discs will be born from this meeting: "Fantasm" (2000) and "Interior night" (2001) devoted to the compositions of the drummer. The double bass player also plays with another pianist, François Raulin, in a trio completed by François Corneloup (“Trois plans sur la comète”, Hatology, 2000). It naturally integrates the formation that Oliva and Raulin put together in homage to the music of Lennie Tristano. At the same time, Chevillon participated in the trio formed by Daniel Humair with Marc Ducret (who welcomed Ellery Eskelin in 2001), which he found in the one formed by the guitarist with drummer Eric Echampard ("L'Ombra di Verdi", Screwgun, 1998) .

While remaining a faithful traveling companion of Louis Sclavis ("The Confrontation of the Pretenders" in 2000), Bruno Chevillon extends in as many groups the relations he maintains with the free thinkers of improvised music: Simple Sound sextet by violinist Régis Huby (2002), trio and quartet of drummer Christophe Marguet, quartet of Michel Portal with Bojan Z , trio with Bernard Lubat and François Corneloup (2005) ... Some of these personalities act, like him, of "defectors" in the field of contemporary music. Thus in 2001, he created with the composer Samuel Sighicelli, Canicule for double bass and sampler at the Présences festival of Radio France. From this collaboration will be born Caravaggio (a quartet which explores the thresholds between contemporary music, improvised, rock, electro, dub) bringing together Samuel Sighicelli, Benjamin de La Fuente, Éric Échampard and BC. Four years later, commissioned by the GRM, it's Nos.20 ans, with accordionist Pascal Contet, improvisation based on INA radio archives, and the shows "... / ... (b) "," Mon Amour "with the dancer and choreographer Christian Rizzo. In the company of clarinetist Jean-Marc Foltz, a new accomplice, he takes part in Stéphan Oliva's imaginary route, creates the group Soffio di Scelsi which is inspired by the work of composer Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988), and s' engages in a one-to-one dialogue which gives rise to the release of an album, "This opacity" (Clean Feed) whose title recalls how much, for Bruno Chevillon, music is a matter of mystery to be revealed and linked to tireless need to explore further the depths of his instrument.

To date, he has recorded around forty records.

Vincent Bessieres