Manu Katché s'est imposé à partir des années 1980 comme l'un des plus brillants musiciens français. Cest à coup sûr lun des batteurs les plus singuliers et polyvalents apparus au cours de ces vingt dernières années sur la scène musicale internationale. Débutant avec Michel Jonasz et Jean- Jacques Goldman, Manu Katché doit à sa présence sur « So » (1986) de Peter Gabriel, le fait d'intégrer le gotha des grands batteurs de studio et de tournée. De Sting à Joni Mitchell, en passant par Jeff Beck et Peter Gabriel, il devenu le partenaire privilégié des grandes stars de la pop internationale. La liste des artistes avec qui il collabore est étourdissante : Joni Mitchell, Simple Minds, Al DiMeola, Tears for Fears, Dire Straits, Loreena McKennitt, Youssou N'Dour, Robbie Robertson, Joe Satriani, Tori Amos, The Bee Gees, Joan Armatrading, Tracy Chapman e.a.
Mais Manu Katché ne s'arrête pas à ce rôle d'accompagnateur de luxe, il est lui-même compositeur et soliste. Dès le tournant des années 90, il s'est lancé dans une carrière parallèle de jazzman, aux côtés notamment de Jan Garbarek, sur les albums » I Took Up The Runes », « Twelve Moons », « Visible World », « In Praise of Dreams », « Dresden ». En 2005, son premier disque en leader sur le label ECM, « Neighbourhood », révèle la nature de sa propre musique, un jazz raffiné, sensuel, et constamment mélodique. En 2007, il sort « Playground », un disque tout aussi magistral. Son 3e opus sur ECM, « Third Round, paraît en mars 2010. Décidément protéiforme, Manu Katché est aussi homme de télévision, qu'elle soit culturelle avec Arte et « One Shot Not » ou populaire avec sa présence dans le jury de lémission La Nouvelle Star sur M6. Le secret du succès de Manu Katché, c'est son incroyable capacité à s'adapter à différents styles, à être à l'aise en studio comme sur scène.
A loccasion de la sortie de son tout nouvel album sur le label ECM en automne 2012, il entame une tournée internationale pour présenter ce nouveau projet, en compagnie de trois musiciens qui donneront une direction nouvelle à sa musique, le saxophoniste norvégien Tore Brunborg, avec qui Manu Katché a déjà travaillé de nombreuses fois (notamment sur son dernier album et la tournée « Third Round »), Jim Watson (Partisans) à lorgue Hammond B3, et le célèbre trompettiste Nils Petter Molvaer qui sest déjà produit au CCRD opderschmelz en tant quinvité exclusif avec son propre groupe, en 2010, et en mai 2012 dans le cadre du festival de jazz de Dudelange, « Like A Jazz Machine ».
For his fourth ECM album, titled just Manu Katché, the great French-Ivorian drummer reshuffles the line-up of his band once more, and presents a new program of compact, self-penned tunes. The revolving door policy is part of Katchés song writing concept: If you write all your own music, youre aware of your limitations. It helps to have a changing cast of musicians, because they naturally bring in things you wouldnt have expected. Its really been the idea since the first album [2004s Neighbourhood] to keep on changing the band. Choices of musicians have usually been inspired by meetings and encounters. Ill get to play with someone and then try to have his style, or at least the essence of his style, in mind when I write the music at the piano.
Only Norwegian saxophonist Tore Brunborg remains from the group heard on Third Round. In the band sound, Tore is a leader, sonically, Manu explains. Even if I play melodically on my instrument, as a drummer I have other responsibilities in the ensemble. I cant always be the leading voice. Tores approach to the melodies and the themes, in the studio and also live, is just right, and his sound has become the sound that I hear in my imagination when I write new music. Hes my main man. On the present session Brunborg finds himself reunited with trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær: they began their careers together, almost thirty years ago, as young musicians in Arild Andersen and Jon Christensens band Masqualero, and their affinity as players is undimmed.
With his 1997 ECM album Khmer Nils Petter Molvær recast the format for electric jazz. Katché has been listening to him on record for a long time, but trumpeter and drummer did not have the opportunity to play together until the Montreal Jazz Festival combined them for a free-spirited set with Paolo Fresu, all improv and loops and sounds, as Manu recalls. I found we had something in common. Manu subsequently invited Nils Petter to join the recording project, and praises his idiosyncratic feeling for sounds and textures which seemed, he says, both to glue the album together and to open the music up.
At the core of the new pieces, however, is Manus unmistakable drum sound, and the album opens with the sound of him alone on Running After Years. He speaks of the feeling of freedom he finds in working with London-based keyboardist Jim Watson, who on several tracks covers also some of the role of bass with the pedals of his Hammond B3. This is the first of my own albums where Ive worked without a bass player. Usually Im working very closely with a bassist. But I wanted to make some quite radical changes in the band, and the sound of the Hammond is something Ive always loved. Katché first encountered Watson through the Arte TV show One Shot Not. Then I invited him to join my band last year for a festival date and what he brought in was very strong. There were further performances in concert and on TV with a spontaneously assembled group including Katché, Watson, Meshell Ndegeocello and Pino Palladino, which further convinced Manu of the organist/pianists strengths. He sees Watson as an outsider rather like himself. Were both coming from this other cultural corner, the pop world, and are influenced by that, yet also have jazz backgrounds and a certain jazz attitude. (
) Playing with him is very interesting for me. We have a kind of duet thing going on, organ and drums are the rhythm section this time and this was my starting point for thinking about the music. The bass sound from the organ pedal board is not as clearly defined as the sound of an electric or upright bass. The sound of the organ surrounds you and Im playing with that sound and can react to it in different ways. I can groove, or just flow, or wait... It opens up many new dynamic possibilities for me as a drummer.
Born in Paris and originally a pianist on the present album he pays solo piano on Dusk on Carnon Katché switched to percussion while studying at the Paris Conservatory. His distinctive drum style is derived from classical snare drum and kettledrum studies as well as from a conscious embracing of African roots. His work with Peter Gabriel on the album So and, subsequently on the Amnesty International World tour with Gabriel, Sting and Tracey Chapman catapulted him to world attention and he was soon recording and/or touring with Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, Dire Straits, Simple Minds, Youssou NDour, Joan Armatrading, Joe Satriani and dozens more. His ECM affiliations include recordings with Jan Garbarek, amongst them: I Took Up The Runes, Twelve Moons, Visible World, In Praise of Dreams, and the live album Dresden. Katchés first leader date for the label, Neighbourhood, was recorded in 2004, with Playground following in 2007, and Third Round in 2010.
In 2012, Katché has again been touring with Peter Gabriel, including a series of North American concerts, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Gabriels So album. Dates with Manus own band begin October 18th and continue into 2013. Jim Watson plays all dates on the tour in total more than 50 concerts and Tore Brunborg almost all dates (Trygve Seim substitutes for a couple of shows in October). Nils Petter Molvær appears at selected concerts, the other featured trumpeter being Italian player Luca Aquino.
The album Manu Katché was recorded at Studios La Buissonne, Pernes-les-Fontaines, in the South of France in March 2012, with Manfred Eicher producing.