I started playing music at the age of seven. I played the cello for a couple of months. Then my mother would always ask me to bring the violin home. She was not yet aware that the school didn’t have any more violin left so I played—big—cello instead. That was fun but after six months I heard this magnificent instrument—the saxophone—with all its flexibility. This sound was coming from the corridor of the school. I asked the man with the beard, who was going to be my first sax teacher if he could show me how to use it properly. I remember how good it felt tasting the alto sax reed, touching the pearl keys and handling the instrument for the first time. Then the first breath and the first note. Wow!
I fell deeply in love with jazz when I heard Charlie Parker and Phil Woods. At fifteen years old, I had already accumulated more than five hundred Jazz LPs. I listened to them all, over and over, all the time. Two years after, I was kicked out of the conservatory after three years of being an undisciplined student. Hee, hee, hee! The real schools, the real learning is on the stage where I started playing professionally at fifteen years old.
The freedom of being who you really are, creative, spontaneous and unique is a blessing. I’ve always felt music was the only way I could express myself freely. I had to develop my own sound, articulation, etc. Discovering the music of Coltrane, Elvin, Tony Williams, and Albert Ayler was a turning point. It felt like a call. It took about 15 years to really understand this call and start focusing on my own identity. I realised how conditioned I was and I decided to un-condition myself (probably for the rest of my life). As a sage man said, “It takes two years for a child to learn how to talk and the rest of his life to stop talking.” Hee, hee, hee! As of this day, Improvising is the best way I have discovered in order to really connect with other musicians, with the Universe.
One of my dreams has always been to make a record (LP). For some reason I never had the chance to do a real LP because of the transfer of technology to digital. In 1990 I made changes in my way of playing music and I formed my first trio ever. Playing with drums and bass was the ideal choice for me. Every musician gets the freedom they need if there are not too many rules. It became obvious that I had to do a recording at some point. My first album (CD) was launched both in Quebec City and Montreal in 1994. That’s when ColyaKooMusic came to life, first as a publisher then as a co-producer of my albums.
The most important thing was to record as much music as possible and make it available to everyone. We never made a CD in order to make money. Maybe I should have. Hee, hee, hee! From the very beginning of ColyaKooMusic, I felt the music would have a wider audience by collaborating with other labels. All our albums were released with a dozen labels mostly specialised in free jazz, improv music and avant-garde music.
Over the years, playing and recording with all these wonderful musicians were memorable moments. I am interested in authenticity, I mean REAL authenticity. The energy that comes out of sharing moments with such great musicians is staggering and it definitely contributes to open you up. Music becomes kind of sacred not to say spiritual. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to release all this music.
Alto saxophonist, improviser, composer!
**** Entrance 3 Ayler Records aylCD-106 Francois Carrier (as); Michel Lambert (dr); Bobo Stenson (p); Pierre Côté (b). July 2002. My beloved kind free jazz masters meet my beloved contemporary jazz pianist!!! Note, however, that this is really an early gem! The album...
***** Nirguna Fundacja Sluchaj! FSR05|2019 2 CDs François Francois Carrier (as, Chinese oboe); Michel Lambert (dr); John Edwards (b); Alexander Hawkins (p). June 2017. François Carrier and Michel Lambert played in a quartet with John Edwards in the legendary Vortex in...