Marc Perrenoud Talks on the Eve of his US Tour

2014 has been a good year for Marc Perrenoud and his trio of Cyril Regamey on drums and Marco Müller on double bass. They’ve toured China, Taiwan, Europe and are off to the US this month to play five cities and cover about 20,000 kilometres of American soil.

The gigs have followed their well-received third album, Vestry Lamento (released October 2013-April ’14). Frank Alkyer of Downbeat magazine crucially wrote, ‘Would someone please book this band for a tour of the States? We want to see them live!’


MarcPerrenoudUSAI spoke to Marc Perrenoud about his feelings on the eve of the trio’s US tour.

Marc Perrenoud I’m very excited. US people are very open, I’m not nervous, I just feel pleasure to go there…Playing in New York is always a big thing, but I am very excited to discover New Orleans, it must be an incredible place…and it’s the birthplace of jazz. There’s so much music there and I’m really looking forward to that, to ‘feeling’ Louisiana.

Sometimes it can be hard to be from a little country but sometimes it makes you more curious…you have to be because we have to leave Switzerland and that’s very stimulating. I am very honoured that these guys invited me, a Swiss guy, to play jazz there – it’s crazy. It’s so cool.

Do you think Vestry Lamento was particularly suitable for US audiences?

Marc Perrenoud There is a very big difference between Two Churches [his previous album] and this one. I was a little bit, not bored, but tired of the top, classical jazz, European style…so I tried to think about what I love about this music – and that is American jazz from the ’60s and even earlier. I tried to put some musical ideas like the energy and the swing style into this CD but with my European culture too, to make a mix of these two cultures.

In this album I was more confident in my partners. I was a control freak before, so I had an idea and would be like – you have to play that and that. Now the ideas are more precise and I can give more liberty to the musicians…It gave more pleasure and more energy to the drummer and bass-player and they had more fun playing because their ideas are in there too. It really grew together.

When will you work on a new album and what direction will it take?

Marc Perrenoud When we finish the US tour we are working for the month of December on the new repertoire and the new trio CD for 2015. I think recording will take place in February or March. After the US we’ll be full of ideas, I think it will be a good moment to write new things. We had a very exciting year, but it will be good to calm down and write.

The direction: you can never say exactly what it is, but I am sure about the manner with which to work and write together with the trio – it will be the same way and same kind of energy as with Vestry Lamento.

With the new album I will try to have a longer release time to focus on a new country every month with good PR. It’s good to have big festivals [to play] but it’s always important to meet people in smaller clubs. At Ronnie Scott’s we jammed til 3.30am…it was nice to meet the London jazz scene and have a real bebop jam session. Then I went straight to the Gatwick Express at 5am [to get to the airport – proper jazz stylee].

What have you found inspiring recently?

Marc Perrenoud I try to often go to concerts but also to theatre – I saw a very good theatre piece of Dostoyevsky, I go to opera, rock, jazz concerts. It’s very important to me to go to live music and performance. I’ve seen Roy Hargrove, a cool concert of Brad Mehldau solo and Joe Lovano.

I have a project next year with actors, poetry and music – trying to make something new. I think jazz is made from these things, we need improvisation in jazz and to do that we need to look everywhere. It’s why it’s unstable and moving because we have to continually find ideas and, sure, other arts are very inspiring.

18/11 Somethin Jazz Club, New York
20/11 Snug Harbor, New Orleans, Louisiana
21/11 The Jazz Station, Eugene, Oregon
23/11 Upstairs at Vitello’s, Los Angeles, California
24/11 Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara, California

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