Jazz violinist, but why?



Gabriel Bismut is a French violinist and violist, composer and teacher.

Involved in jazz, gypsy jazz and traditional music projects on the Parisian scene, he has performed in venues in Paris (Carré Bellefeuille, Studio de l'Ermitage, Sunset/Sunside, …), in France (Festivals Souillac en Jazz, Poët-Laval Jazz, Inter'Val, …) and in Europe (Swing in the Wind (CH), Beat Onto Jazz (It), …).

In 2016 he created the duo “Les Temps qui Courent” with pianist Fady Farah, and recorded an album of jazz and traditional music containing his compositions and arrangements.

At the end of 2020, he released, in collaboration with Italian accordionist/pianist Maurizio Minardi, “Le Chat Brel”, an album of original compositions with a jazz/world aesthetic influenced by film music (Les Amis de la Musique Acoustique, Inouïe Distribution). Recorded as an acoustic quartet under the artistic direction of Marc Berthoumieux, this album received support from ADAMI, FCM, SCPP, CNM and SPEDIDAM. “Persévérance”, a composition by Gabriel Bismut, was selected for an official YouTube Music playlist and now totals more than 60,000 streams (link).

In addition, Gabriel regularly posts educational content on his Youtube channel. One of his videos has been viewed over 80,000 times (link).

Strongly attracted by working as a composer in his own right, in 2022 he wrote the music for a piano album which is intended to be the soundtrack of an imaginary film. He puts all his influences into it, ranging from classical to “easy listening” music, including jazz and rock. Recorded by pianist Nacer Zerfaoui and cellist Théophile Dugué, it will be released in March 2024 (Les Amis de la Musique Acoustique, Inouïe Distribution).

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Jazz violinist, but why?

I started the violin at the age of 4 and a half. I still remember the magic moment when I discovered for the first time the half-opened violin box, which my parents had placed in the living room for me. With a big brother and a little sister playing the piano, music was omnipresent in my family. Classical music reigned supreme, but often we had fun playing the soundtracks of films we had just seen. I thus learned the piano by myself so that I could replay the music of Ennio Morricone, James Horner, John Williams, and also Prokofiev in the film Alexandre Nevski. This is where my passion for beautiful melodies and for composition came from. As a teenager, I discovered the music of my time, rock bands like Radiohead, metal bands like Metallica, or the blues as Stevie Ray Vaughan played it. I then put the violin aside for 7 long years during which I played the guitar like crazy, much to the chagrin of my parents. However, I realized that the guitar was not my instrument, that it was not an extension of my soul and that with it I would not find my sound. So I took up the violin, having developed from this rock parenthesis the taste for improvisation, which has never left me since.

It is therefore quite naturally that my interest in musical exploration and research oriented me towards jazz, which I discovered thanks to its representatives whose strong melodic sense touched me, like Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli or Keith Jarrett. I then discovered the more abstract and less accessible jazz of Thelonious Monk or the so moving mysticism of John Coltrane. One of the very rare jazz discs in the family CD shelve, a compilation of Art Tatum recordings, made me understand that jazz was an open music in which I could find the same richness and the same harmonic freedom as in the works of the classical composers that I loved the most, like Shostakovich. The door was therefore open for me to immerse myself in this new music universe and its many ambassadors.

It is therefore quite naturally that my interest in musical exploration and research oriented me towards jazz.

Although I have since explored several styles of music, traditional Celtic or Gypsy music, Latin music, African music, which strongly nourish my creativity, jazz remains my reference music, which makes me want to continue to learn new rhythms, new melodies or harmonies. It is for me a universal music, which one can appreciate at any time of his life, in any emotional state, a music whose language is so rich that it encompasses all styles, all by being incredibly consistent. I think that this music helps describing the state of the world and of one's internal world. When I don't know which music to listen to or play, playing or listening to jazz is the best solution for me.

Gabriel Bismut — ©‘20 All rights reserved