Solaire, Siegfried Kessler, that is the least we can say! Aged 4: learns piano. Aged 6: his first concert. After this: studies classical music like everyone else... until the jazz of Jack Diévaland Stan Kenton turned everything upside down. So it was goodbye to Bach...
...And hello to Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Ted Curson and Archie Shepp (who he would accompany over a long period). In 1969, with Yochk’o Seffer, Didier Levallet and Jean-My Truong, he formed a group which would mark history and create a sensation: Perception. If French free jazz exists, its thanks to Kessler (and company).
The following year, the pianist recorded his first album: Live at the Gill’s Club. On this one-night concert date can also be heard Barre Phillips and Steve McCall. But it was in 1971 that Kessler would record his greatest album; still in a trio setting, but this time with bassist Gus Nemeth and percussionist Stu Martin: Solaire. Five tracks of extraordinary music, moving back and forth between modal jazz and contemporary music.
Let’s begin at the end, with the title track Solaire, on which Kessler plays a melody on flute and piano which resists all onslaughts. It sends out powerful waves, Kessler’s jazz, bubbling like hot oil (Persécution, Drum), shaking modal jazz to its roots (De l’Orient à Orion) or upsetting the memory of a cantata (Bach Hcab). The piano is an instrument which can provide a tendency towards, demonstrative technique; with Kessler, it is something else: a joyful persecution!